Despite hinting that they might give the 2021 Liga 1 Indonesia season the green light, the Indonesian Police have reiterated their stance on Saturday that they will not allow the new season of Indonesian football to commence just yet.
The Indonesian football season has been frozen out for almost a year after just three matchweeks into the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia and with the ever-increasing amount of cases, the Indonesian Police have thwarted any attempts from both the Football Federation of Indonesia (PSSI) and league operators PT Liga Indonesia Baru (LIB) in restarting the competition, citing both public safety and the prioritization of December’s regional election as the reasons. The refusal of the Indonesian Police to issue any permit for football matches within Indonesia led to the 2020 season’s cancellation in January of this year amidst prolonged uncertainties.
“We have not issued any permission for the 2021 Liga 1 season,” said Commissioner General Agus Andrianto, head of the Peacekeeping Bureau of the Indonesian Police as quoted by Bola.com from the institution’s official website on Saturday. Agus’ statement echoed the general sentiment that the Indonesian Police had towards the plans of restarting Indonesian football – no footballing activities shall be done until the Indonesian Police are confident enough that the PSSI and the LIB are able to safely hold football matches within the current climate of the pandemic.
Brigadier General Rusdi Hartono of the Indonesian Police’s Public Relations Division also issued a similar statement, “We shall inform everyone should the Indonesian Police decides to issue a permit for the 2021 Liga 1 Indonesia season to be held.”
Agus hints on his statement on the Indonesian Police website that the fate of the upcoming 2021 Liga 1 season lies on the hands of Indonesian Chief of Police Police General Listyo Sigit Prabowo, with the ongoing situation being placed into consideration.
Meanwhile, PSSI chairman Mochamad Irawan confirmed online rumors on Saturday that the opening match of the 2021 Liga 1 season will be Bhayangkara Solo FC playing Arema FC at the Manahan Stadium, the Indonesian Police-backed club’s first official match after their relocation and rebrand. Both the PSSI and the LIB are also working hard to ensure that the 2021 season will start after the Hari Raya Aidil Fitri celebrations, around May or June of this year.
The PSSI have also confirmed that they will start holding pre-season tournaments before the start of the 2021 Liga 1 season but after the simulation of health protocols in a football match which will be held in late February. The pre-season tournaments will provide both the PSSI and the LIB with an opportunity to test out their health and safety protocols within a live environment, while at the same time allowing players to regain their match fitnesses after being out of the game for almost a year.