Jakarta. Freeport Indonesia, the local unit of US mining giant Freeport McMoRan, has decided to stop its sponsorship deal with Persipura Jayapura — Papua's local football club and the current champions of Indonesia's national football league, putting the club at risk of missing this year's competition.
Freeport has ceased exporting its mineral concentrate for more than a month now, as the company and the government remain deadlocked in permit negotiations. The company has furloughed thousands of its workers and scaled down its mining operations.
"We received an email from Freeport Indonesia management on Wednesday, confirming that they could not continue their sponsorship of Persipura," club chairman Benhur Tomi Mano said late on Thursday (16/03).
"Like it or not, we have to accept the decision. It's their money and they get to decide to support [us] or not," Benhur said.
Persipura Jayapura is the most successful football team in Indonesia in the past decade, having clinched the Indonesian Super League — the country's top football competition — title three times since 2008 and another title in the breakaway league Indonesian Soccer Championship last year.
But Benhur said without Freeport's sponsorship Persipura might miss the top flight competition — which has been renamed Liga 1 — this year.
"The worst case scenario is that we cannot compete. But we will try our best to get another major sponsor," Benhur said.