With the restart of the 2020 Liga 1 Indonesia season only a few days away, a bombshell was dropped by the Indonesian Police on Monday that could throw the entire plan of restarting Indonesian football after the COVID-19 suspension into disarray. Speaking to the press on Monday, Police Inspector General Argo Yuwono as the head of the Indonesian Police public relations department revealed that both the Liga 1 and the Liga 2 – the two leagues resuming this October – will not receive any permission to restart.
Argo told the media that the Indonesian Police have at least three reasons to deny the restart of both the Liga 1 and the Liga 2 next month, all of them relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia. Developments of the pandemic in Indonesia have been worrying in recent times, with a steady rise of COVID-19 cases occurring in the archipelago with each passing day.
“In response to the plans set by PT Liga Indonesia Baru to resume the Liga 1 season on October 1st, the Indonesian Police has decided to not issue any event permits relating to the league as we’re now currently in a middle of a pandemic, with more and more people being infected with COVID-19 every day,” said Argo.
“Secondly, the Indonesian Police have committed not to release any crowd and event permits at any level for any kind of events to curb the spread of COVID-19,” Argo continued.
“And finally, the Indonesian Police are concentrating all of their manpower alongside the Indonesian Armed Forces and other relevant stakeholders to support the government policy of creating and upholding measures to ensure public discipline during the pandemic,” Argo concluded.
However, the Indonesian Police are leaving the final decision to resume or cancel both the Liga 1 and the Liga 2 to both the Football Federation of Indonesia (PSSI) as the highest authority of the sport in Indonesia and PT Liga Indonesia Baru (LIB) as the operating company of the two leagues. Both institutions are yet to speak officially in regards of the Indonesian Police denying the restart of Indonesian football.
Both the PSSI and LIB are currently in discussions with the Ministry of Youth and Sports in regards of restarting both the Liga 1 and the Liga 2. And while the Ministry are aware about the Indonesian Police denying any permits to hold league matches, the PSSI and LIB remain optimistic that they could finally resume Indonesian football after a lengthy period of suspension, starting with the Liga 1 on October 1st and then the Liga 2 on October 17th. The three parties will meet again on Tuesday afternoon to discuss about the fate of both the Liga 1 and the Liga 2.
Should the Liga 1 is finally given the green light, PS Sleman and Persik Kediri are set to contest the first match of the league’s restart at the Maguwoharjo Stadium in Sleman. Initially PSS were set to take on Persebaya Surabaya in the league’s restart, however last year’s runners-up Persebaya were being affected by COVID-19 with four players and two staff members being tested positive for the disease. The six were yet to show any symptoms and are now undergoing self-quarantine.