Southeast Asia Indonesia

Persipura: “We’re Sitting Out from the Menpora Cup!”

Liga 1 Indonesia giants Persipura Jayapura have confirmed on Tuesday that they’re going to sit out from the upcoming 2021 Menpora Cup. Club chairman Benhur Tomi Mano stressed out to both CNN Indonesia and Kompas that the Mutiara Hitam will take no part in the upcoming pre-season tournament for Liga 1 clubs, as a form of protest towards league operators PT Liga Indonesia Baru (LIB) who they felt was unfair and unprofessional towards them.

Benhur revealed to CNN Indonesia and Kompas that he was shocked to see Persipura amongst the clubs participating in Monday’s Menpora Cup group stage draw, even though he had sent a letter to PT LIB that his club will be sitting out the tournament in the days prior to the draw.

“There must’ve been a misunderstanding between us, PT LIB, and the organizers of the Menpora Cup,” Benhur said, “We’ve sent an official letter to the PT LIB that we’re going to not participate in the upcoming Menpora Cup, yet we were told that the PT LIB are waiting until next week for our answer in regards on whether we will participate or not.”

Benhur then shot down rumors suggesting that financial problems – something that has been haunting Persipura for a while – or difficulty in gathering enough players were the reason behind Persipura’s decision to sit out the Menpora Cup.

“The tournament’s format, which requires teams playing games within centralized venues, would actually help our finances greatly as we won’t travel anywhere for too much. Besides, the organizers have stepped in and helped burden the traveling costs of participating teams,” Benhur continued, “Also, 80 percent of our players are still staying here in Jayapura so gathering them once again won’t be a problem.”

Last but not least, Benhur revealed that the true reason behind Persipura’s refusal to participate in the Menpora Cup was that the PT LIB had been unfair and unprofessional in their conduct towards the Mutiara Hitam, however he won’t go into much detail about what kind of treatment that the league operators had given to Persipura. The Papuan giants had even sent them a letter explaining about said conduct.

“So this is not about them waiting for our conformation. This is about us waiting for their honesty and professionalism towards us. We’ve been silent because we’re respecting the PSSI (football federation) and the Minister of Youth and Sports, but if they want to, we can reveal in full detail what the league operators had done to us,” explained Benhur, “If they told clubs what to do, clubs must obey them because if they don’t they will get sanctioned and punished. But if we ask for their confirmation, they’ll act arbitrarily and unprofessionally. Don’t do that, we as a club have our own dignity.”

Realizing that his decision to sit Persipura out of the Menpora Cup would risk the disappointment of Persipura’s faithful supporters – who had been longing to see their beloved team in action after a long period of inactivity, Benhur went ahead and issue out an apology towards them.

“Just because we hadn’t had any football action in a while doesn’t mean that one can just ignore the clubs that easily. We need good communication between clubs and the league operator,” Benhur said, “We know that our decision would disappoint the Persipura Mania who had been looking forward for our return. And for that, we apologize to them and we hope that they could understand the situation.”

Having suspended all activities since early January due to financial problems, Persipura recently received a financial boost from mining giants PT Freeport Indonesia last week, with the company providing the Mutiara Hitam with the funds needed for the upcoming 2021 campaign which covers both the Liga 1 and the AFC Cup. However, Persipura are still left without a head coach after Jacksen F. Tiago has decided to part ways with the club following the expiration of his contract in January.