A match official helps a football player washes his hand with disinfectant before a Liga-1 match between Bali United and Madura United in Gianyar, Bali, on March 15, 2020. (Photo Courtesy of PSSI)

Indonesian Football League to Resume in October, No Spectators on Site


JULY 22, 2020

Jakarta. The Indonesian Football Association, or PSSI, plans to resume competition of the country’s most favorite sport in October after months of delay due to the Covid-19 outbreak.  

PSSI Chairman Mochamad Iriawan said on Wednesday strict health protocol will be imposed during the games to follow examples by several other countries who have restarted competition earlier such as England, Spain and Italy.

“The Indonesian football competition will resume in October under the main condition -- that all elements of the sport including the federation, clubs and supporters must obey the health protocol,” Iriawan said in Jakarta.

The remaining Liga-1 matches of the season will be held without spectators at the stadium and all people involved will be required to undergo swab tests, including players, coaches, referees, security staffs and match officials.

“We have set up the health protocol with assistance by medical team and the PSSI observatory team, as well as prepared the budget for swab tests. We have decided the upcoming matches will be played without spectators on site,” he said.

National Covid-19 Task Force Head Doni Monardo welcomed the plan.

“The task force supports resumption of the football league on condition that the health protocol is imposed. We will assist the PSSI with swab tests and all matches must be held without spectators. We are not taking any chance because Covid-19 carriers can be among them,” Doni said.

Doni said the event could provide an opportunity for football stars to launch health campaign as the virus is still raging on in the country.

“They can set examples because they have a lot of fans,” Doni said.

He said it’s not the first time the task force worked together with the football communities in the national fight against the pandemic.

The task force has earlier approached the supporter group of Persebaya, one of the country’s biggest and oldest football teams with millions of fans, to campaign for mask wearing, hand hygiene and social distancing, the key World Health Organization guidelines to stop the spread of the virus, Doni said.

Liga-1, Indonesia’s top level professional football competition, was halted in mid-March after the country reported its first Covid-19 cases and after only the third week into the current season.