The controversial cancellation of the 2022/23 Liga 2 Indonesia season escalated from bad to worse this week when a number of Liga 2 club representatives came forward and stated that the cancellation was a huge deception. The representatives said that they were asked to sign a supposed “attendance sheet” and receive Rp15 million in “transportation reimbursements” during a meeting with the Football Federation of Indonesia (PSSI) on December 14th, before the league was officially cancelled on January 12th. It was alleged that Amir Burhanuddin, CEO of Deltras FC and vice-chairman of the PSSI’s provincial association for East Java, has tricked the other Liga 2 clubs into signing an agreement to cancel the 2022/23 season in return for a bribe that was disguised as reimbursement for their travel costs to Jakarta.
The whistleblowers that blew the lid on the scandalous events behind the cancellation of this season’s Liga 2 were Effendy Syahputra, vice-chairman of Karo United, Andry Mahyar, the technical director of PT Kinantan Medan Indonesia (who owns PSMS Medan), and Yan Mandenas, general manager of Persipura Jayapura. The three men spoke to detikX on Tuesday, each of them carrying serious accusation regarding Amin’s role in December 14th’s meeting which discussed about the Liga 2’s future after it’s postponement following the Kanjuruhan Disaster back in October 1st.
All three men expressed that a good majority of Liga 2 clubs are against the cancellation of the current season, with Effendy confirming rumors that there were bribes and forgeries of the signatures of club executives attending the meeting to further the agenda of certain parties.
“Indeed there is, the distribution (of bribes) is there. I can assure you that it happened, but I refused and I don’t know about the people who accepted,” said Effendy, as quoted from detikX, “I’m sure the offer is there as long as you sign the letter they gave to you.”
Effendy also stated that the club executives’ signatures – which was gathered for attendance purposes – was instead scanned and pasted onto a document stating that Liga 2 clubs were supportive of ending the season early, which was used by the PSSI to legitimize the cancellation of this season’s Liga 2 on January 12th.
“Those signatures were for attendance, but the writing of the names, it’s not our writing, its merely scanned on the document. So I can say that our signatures were forged,” said Effendy, “I am not accusing anyone, but Amir Burhanuddin (the CEO of Deltras) was also at the meeting.”
According to Andry, there were two meetings held on December 14th – one led by PT Liga Indonesia Baru general director Ferry Paulus that lasted from morning to afternoon, while another one was held at night. The attempt to bribe the club executives was done during the latter meeting, with the money being given under the pretense of reimbursing the executives’ travel costs. There were also two sheets being handed out during the meeting – one for attendance and the other one, which asks for approval for the current season to be cancelled, disguised as another attendance sheet.
“Once we knew that the other sheet was for asking our approval to cancel the season, we refused to sign it,” said Andry, as quoted from detikX.
Andry stated that the cancellation of the Liga 2 season is senseless, as clubs who are unable to complete the season for whatever reason should resign from the league, with relegation to the Liga 3 being the punishment for such clubs. This was regulated in the Liga 2 rules itself, within Article 7 to be exact.
If the reason behind the season’s cancellation was security, Andry continued, it also doesn’t make sense as PSMS and a number of other clubs had received approval from relevant authorities to held Liga 2 games at their stadiums.
Meanwhile, Yan told detikX that the December 14th meeting was not to cancel the league, but to discuss the available options for Liga 2 clubs on how to continue the season. Within the meeting, only one or two clubs voiced their opinion to cancel the season altogether, with Yan and the Persipura camp being one of the strongest supporters behind the season’s continuation.
“The consensus was the result of the meeting will be discussed further between the PSSI and PT LIB as league operators,” said Yan, as quoted from detikX, “But suddenly the league was cancelled by the PSSI without our consent. Surely this would benefit a number of parties within the PSSI.”
Yan confirmed that signatures were forged and bribes were given during the meeting, stating that Amir was the one coordinating everything. The signatures were indeed gathered under the pretense of attendance and the money was indeed given as “travel reimbursements.”
“It’s all Amir’s doing, he’s the ringmaster,” Yan told detikX.
When faced with the accusations, Amir vehemently denied everything.
“It’s all lies,” Amir told detikJatim, “None of it is true. Those statements were incorrect.”
In his interview with detikJatim, Amir slammed Effendy, Andry, and Yan for their statements, calling them “irresponsible” and stating that the attacks on him were a result of a “frame-up.”
“I want those accusing me to introspect themselves,” Amir continued, “All of those accusations are false. I’m not a ringleader of anything, it’s a phrase that they made themselves. I’m being framed here.”