Indonesia has quite some experience with rough times concerning their local League. This time they are facing yet another serious problem. The last official matches in the Liga 1 were played almost a year ago. 10 months without football pushes clubs and players to the edge. Over 30 foreign players already left the Indonesian Liga 1 since the outbreak of the Coronavirus. While local players had turned to side-businesses to make a living as salaries were cut in half or went unpaid. A massive exodus threatens Indonesian football.
Due to the corona outbreak, the league has been suspended until further notice. A logical move (given the situation at the time) and not unheard of in other parts of the world. But while other nations are already playing again or at least presenting alternatives to make a restart possible. The PSSI doesn’t show any sign of resuming the league. Clubs struggle to cover for lost revenue causing salary cuts for players or dangers of going bankrupt.
The last official matches were played on the 15th of March 2020. More than 10 months ago! After that, announcements followed to restart the league in October and November, only to be postponed a mere two days before the deadline causing frustration and disappointment among Liga 1 players. All in all, it’s a sad situation for the progress of Indonesian football.
Many Indonesian football fans are devastated to go without their league for so long. The latest update for the restart of the 2020 season is set on February 2021, but even that feels like a bridge too far. Players will be massively out of shape. Whilst the competition will be paused again during April considering Ramadhan. Causing further delay and more scheduling troubles.
The restart of the Indonesian League was a head breaker from the start. As the country was set to host their first ever World Cup U-20’s this summer. But unfortunately, the biggest footballing event in Indonesian history was cancelled and rescheduled to 2023. The only positive impact of this cancellation is the fact that the summer calendar has been cleared to finish the 2021 season. With the World Cup U-20’s being rescheduled, you would assume the PSSI could provide some clarity on the restart of the league?
Coach Robert Rene Alberts had the following opinion on this matter:
“There is no time to prepare the team to complete the 2020 competition after ten months of stoppage, and when the league starts again in February, it means that it has been eleven months since the competition has stopped”.
“So my message is to stop thinking about the 2020 competition regardless of the position in the current standings, stop it based on the rules and focus on facing the new league in the 2021 season.”
Back to basics
Since the revenues of many clubs have been frozen, there is a major effect on many local players, especially at the lesser-known teams. While some players already had their own clothing line, restaurant, or coffeeshop to attract some side earnings, many are now forced to turn to sell street food or take on security jobs to be able to provide for their families. It really is a sad situation for the progress of Indonesian football. Marc Klok made a statement on social media using the #AyoMainLagi. That quickly went viral among players.
Exodus for Indonesian Football
Everyone hopes the league will be resumed as soon as possible but many players didn’t wait for the PSSI to take action and cut their losses to move to different leagues. Public favorites like Paulo Sergio, Makan Konaté and Adam Mitter among others have left the Indonesian League. Besides the foreign players, some Indonesian talents have made a move to neighboring Malaysia as well! Players like Riuyji Utomo and Syahrian Abimanyu made a transfer to top-tier teams in Malaysia’s Super League. Over recent years the League was slowly improving the quality of facilities, players, and above all their global image. It would be a shame if this progress will abruptly put on hold.
Whilst most foreign players already decided to leave Indonesia, this might open up new possibilities for local talent to flourish and seize their opportunity in the first team. One thing’s for sure, the local players will be far less of a financial liability to the club. The question is whether or not they can provide the same level of skill as experienced foreign players?
Underneath you will find an overview of the players that have left the Indonesian Liga 1 since the Covid-19 outbreak.
We are curious if and when the league will restart and firmly hope that there is enough financial capacity within the clubs to further expand the quality of the Indonesian Liga 1. #AyoMainLagi!