An image leaked onto social media on Thursday indicates that the Football Federation of Indonesia (PSSI) are already working on preparations for the 2021 season, with the federation planning a pre-season tournament for all 18 Liga 1 Indonesia clubs and 2 Liga 2 Indonesia clubs. The tournament, called the Menpora Cup after the Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sports, is set to prepare teams for the upcoming 2021 season while at the same time providing the PSSI with an opportunity to test out their COVID-19-related health and safety protocols.
Should things go according to plan, the 2021 Menpora Cup will be held at the end of March until the end of April, with 20 teams taking part. The 20 teams are divided into four groups of five teams, with games within the four groups being held in four centralized venues. The PSSI have drafted up two scenarios on how the 2021 Menpora Cup group stages will be done.
In the first scenario, Group A will take place at the Manahan Stadium in Solo, Central Java. Bhayangkara Solo FC will act as hosts, while the other teams within the group are Bali United, PSM Makassar, Persela Lamongan, and Persita Tangerang.
Group B, on the other hand, will be held at Bandung, West Java, with Persib Bandung acting as hosts. Group B will also contain Madura United, Borneo FC, Persik Kediri, and Persebaya Surabaya.
PS Sleman and their Maguwoharjo Stadium in Sleman, Special Region of Yogyakarta, will host Group C, which will also contain Persija Jakarta, Persipura Jayapura, Persiraja Banda Aceh, and Liga 2 side PSMS Medan.
Last but not least, Arema FC will host Group D at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java. Competing against Arema in the group are PSIS Semarang, Barito Putera, PS TIRA-Persikabo, and Sriwijaya FC of the Liga 2.
The second scenario has Bhayangkara and Solo remaining as hosts of Group A, however the Guardian will take on PSIS, TIRA-Persikabo, Persija, and Bali United. Group B will take place in Malang, with Arema facing off against PSMS, PSS, Persipura, and Persiraja. Group C will be in Bandung, with hosts Persib taking on PSM, Borneo, Persik, and Madura United. Last but not least Sriwijaya will host Group D at the Gelora Sriwijaya Jakabaring in Palembang, South Sumatra, with their opponents being Persebaya, Barito, Persela, and Persita.
The PSSI will use the 2021 Menpora Cup to test out their health and safety protocols which will be implemented in the 2021 season. All matches will be held behind closed doors with no spectators being allowed and stringent health measures will be placed into the stadiums hosting the matches. It is hoped that the Menpora Cup matches will act as a benchmark to ensure that the 2021 Liga 1 and Liga 2 seasons can be held safely during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, the PSSI and league operators PT Liga Indonesia Baru (LIB) will collaborate together with the Indonesian Police, the Indonesian COVID-19 Taskforce, and the Indonesian National Bureau of Disaster Preventions (BNPB) underneath the facilitation of the Indonesian Ministry of Youth and Sports in planning the upcoming 2021 Indonesian football season.