If England…can transform...why can’t Indonesia?
Surabaya, E Java (ANTARA) - Indonesia’s top-flight professional league Liga 1 will introduce a video assistant referee (VAR) system in February 2024 at several stadiums that meet the requirements, Chairperson of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) Erick Thohir has said.

He made the statement after reviewing the progress of the renovation of Gelora Bung Tomo (GBT) Stadium here on Tuesday, ahead of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) friendly matchday between Indonesia and Palestine, which is scheduled to be held on June 14, 2023.

He urged all parties, including the local governments and supporters, to keep the stadium safe for all visitors, since the 2023/2024 Liga 1 will start on July 1.

Moreover, FIFA is still monitoring the readiness of Indonesia to implement football competitions due to the Kanjuruhan Stampede on October 1, 2022, the PSSI chairperson stated.

Hence, without cooperation with various parties, especially supporters, the transformation of football in Indonesia, especially in improving the safety of spectators, cannot be implemented well, he added.

“When I was elected (as the head of PSSI), (I said that) one of my aims was to ensure that the supporters can return home safely (after watching a match),” he said.

FIFA, in its letter to President Joko Widodo after the stampede, also highlighted that the football transformation would not be possible without the involvement of supporters, he pointed out.

He said that one of the efforts made by his party to realize the safety of the supporters was holding consultations with various parties, including the police.

It was agreed that during the transition period of the football transformation program, the supporters of the away club would not be allowed to attend the matches.

"For the time being, soccer matches in Indonesia are only attended by the supporters of the host clubs,” the PSSI chairperson said.

He further said that since this year is also a political year, with the general elections scheduled to be held on February 14, 2024, his party has also discussed the security of the matches.

Hence, he said he expected that all supporter associations of the clubs in the Indonesian leagues can be part of the football transformation attempt.

"Please prove that we can (do the transformation). If England, which used to be known for (football) hooliganism, can transform – and Italy also manages to improve -- why can’t Indonesia?” Thohir stated.

He emphasized that all parties have to contribute to the transformation program, thus Indonesia will not lose the trust of FIFA and get sanctioned.

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Translator: Abdul H, Naufal I, Uyu L
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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