The perils of Premier League football in Indonesia

-

At a time when the FFA have chosen to contract the Hyundai A-League, just north of the Arafura Sea everything appears to be on the go. In Indonesia there are now two different major competitions and Australians are flocking there in numbers – drawn in by lucrative salaries.

Yet there are perils many do not understand and recent articles in the region’s newspapers and blogs show that all is not in harmony in our closest northern neighbour.

The Persatuan Sepakbola Seluruh Indonesia (PSSI or FA of Indonesia) are in turmoil as only recently a set of clubs have chosen to participate in a break-away competition that is not endorsed by the PSSI.

This Liga Primer Indonesia (LPI or Indonesian Premier League) was formed after a consortium, late in 2010, were concerned about the apparent dependence of football clubs on state budgets and the corruption that was taking place in the PSSI.

Through this the LPI kicked off with 19 teams in 2011. Yet, as these clubs and the league are not recognised by the PSSI, neither are they recognised by the AFC or FIFA.

This also poses a slight problem with regard to the ability of foreign players participating in the LPI. Recently the PSSI Chairman, Nurdin Haid, wrote a letter to the government stating that all foreign players participating in the LPI are doing so illegally as the competition is not recognised by the PSSI, AFC or FIFA.

Further, an attempt by one team, the Medan Chiefs, to be part of the Singapore Cup alongside a number of other international teams like South Melbourne who participated in 2010, was recently dashed by the FAS.

Yet, no action other than that of the FAS has been taken and the League kicked off recently. The FAS stated that the Chiefs were not “affiliated to the member associations of the country the foreign team is based in, in compliance with FIFA regulations.”

Of the foreign players plying their trade in the LPI, and named by Haid, are Australian Robert Mark Gaspar and former Hyundai A-League player Eugene Dadi – whom we remember from Glory and Phoenix days.

Others including ex-Glory goalkeeper Alex Vrteski has been joined by Football West Premier League player David Micevski at Solo FC. Even Mark Viduka was rumoured to have been targeted to join Atjeh United FC.

Recently Chris Doig of the Central Coast Mariners departed for Pelita Jaya, part of the PSSI affiliated Super League. Yet he seems a rare player headed to the ‘proper’ League.

And all of this comes back to what is really happening both in Australia and in Indonesia. That is, how the players are being treated.

Here Brendan Schwab comes in. Currently chief executive of the Australian Professional Footballers’ Association, Schwab has become involved in the set up of the LPI, mainly as an adviser.

As such, the interests of Australian players are also under his guidance and as with the whole league their salaries are guaranteed and all they have to do is go ahead and kick the ball.

Yet the future is murky. As is the A-League now, but for Indonesia more so with two bodies fighting for the right to play football. The PSSI is in turmoil but runs football in Indonesia while the LPI is there to play football and help the country to grow.

For Australians who want to go to Indonesia to play, the question is where and what the future will be. What will happen to Doig, Vrteski and others in unknown, but the attraction of playing is there. And with the contraction of the A-League, expect more names to appear in Indonesian papers.

This article was written with the help of blogs and newspaper articles from Singapore and Indonesia.

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Latest Articles

Corica unhappy with Sydney giving away points

Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica says he is frustrated with his team’s inability to see out games after his team conceded two late...

Bulls need to focus on themselves says Milicic

Macarthur FC boss Ante Milicic says his team needs to focus on themselves for the remainder of the season. The month of April was the...
Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required