Friday, May 02, 2008


Persija's grounds for concern

After months of lobbying the Sports Minister for permission to use Bung Karno Stadium next season in the Liga Super Persija have finally been given the green light to use the 88,000 seater stadium.

When the club first applied to use the national stadium the response was a resounding no following crowd disturbances during a Play Off between Persija and Persipura which left one fan dead.

Having received permission to use the stadium instead of the 15,000 capacity Lebak Bulus there are now those within the club who are not so enthusiastic.

With clubs having to get serious about raising revenue from places beyond local government there is no doubt Persija need a new stadium. Their supporters club boast over 30,000 members and every home game is a sell out.

Fans are worried. They recall numerous instances of trouble at the stadium situated right in the heart of Jakarta's business district and are loathe to see any problems in and around the stadium given the absence of any meaningful security.

There is also the small matter of an appaling record at the nation's primary stadium which sees Persija winless in yonks.

I also understand some of the players are not too happy about playing there citing a lack of atmosphere. 30,000 in a stadium built for three times that will look a bit empty and with the pitch being so far from the fans there is a feeling the Jakmania factor could be diminished.

It is every Indonesian's dream to play at Bung Karno. Somehow using it for Liga games cheapens the impact.

All this serves to illustrate the dearth of quality stadia in Jakarta. It is nonsense that a city of god knows how many millions has one giant stadium, one pissy affair and nothing in between.

Plans to renovate Lebak Bulus came to nowt, now why ain't that a surprise, while talks persist of a purpose built stadium in Sunter, North Jakarta.

While the boonies of Indonesia boast impressive new arenas, Sleman, Sorerang, Botang, the major cities go without while bucks can always be found to build a new mall or apartment complex.

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