No return of the Liga 1 before May
Yesterday (15-01-2021) the Liga 1 clubs and the PSSI had a meeting to discuss the continuation of the Indonesian Liga 1. The restart of the league was scheduled to take place on the 1st of February 2021. Unfortunately for all of us, this won’t happen.
Due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases the risk is that the league will have to stop after a few games. Because the clubs have already incurred a lot of costs in the previous two scheduled restarts. They prefer certainty that the competition can be finished once restarted, over a fast start in February. In addition, regardless of the number of Covid cases, the competition will be stopped in April anyway due to Ramadan.
Many clubs don’t have the financial capacity to restart in February as they went for 10 months without any games and income. The question is how they will be able to do this at a later time?
Fresh start in 2021
The latest update is that the 2020 season will officially be canceled. The current ranking and games will be reset in order to start-over with the 2021 season, presumably in the beginning of May. Most clubs are in favor of the aforementioned solution and PSM Makassar suggested to scrape relegation for the 2021 season. An idea which was backed by Sleman, Barito Putera, Borneo, and Persita.
Whether the fans will be allowed back into the stadium by then remains a question. This will depend entirely on the developments regarding the coronavirus. Without revenue from ticket sales and merchandise, the clubs will be completely dependent on sponsors or government support. The question is therefore how deep the pockets of club sponsors really are. And are they willing to save the clubs?
One example is Persipura Jayapura. The club from West-Papua was one of Indonesia’s best performing teams in recent years. They even secured a spot for participating in the 2021 AFC Cup. But those results didn’t proof to be sufficient for their main sponsor (Bank Papua).
Persipura Jayapura had to disband their squad due to financial difficulties. Bank Papua was hit hard by the consequences of the corona crisis, as a result of which they were unable to meet their payment obligations towards Persipura.