Jakarta. Jakarta governor candidate Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono said on Tuesday (22/11) he will give his full backing to local football club Persija Jakarta if he is elected next year.
"Please send this message to all [Persija fans] Jakmania, I will seriously develop sports, and especially football, in Jakarta when I'm governor," Agus told Antara news agency.
Agus, the oldest son of Indonesia's former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said Jakarta, which generates a lot of taxes and is endowed with an enormous administrative budget, is more than capable of improving its sporting scene.
"It's mind-boggling that the Jakarta administration doesn't have a proper football stadium, one that brings pride and prestige to the city," Agus said.
The country's monumental sporting complex the Gelora Bung Karno is located in Central Jakarta, but it is under the control of the central government, not the Jakarta administration.
Since the Jakmania are notorious for their hooligan-like antics, city administration and security officials are often reluctant to issue Persija permission to play at home in any case.
The last public brawl involving Persija supporters ended up with another death to one of their own.
"It's very hard to get the Jakarta government's permission to play our home matches at home," Jakmania chairman Richard Achmad Supriyanto complained to Agus.
With its dark record, Persija often plays its home games outside Jakarta.
Richard also bemoaned the fact that Persija still does not have its own stadium, despite years of promise by the city's previous governors.
Persija's traditional training ground Menteng Stadium was demolished in 2006 by then governor Sutiyoso and turned into a popular public park.
Richard claimed Persija was promised a replacement stadium but it never materialized.
"First they demolished Menteng Stadium, then they took down Lebak Bulus [Stadium, once Persija's temporary home], and now it's all gone," he said.