Talks of launch postponement did not stop South Kalimantan club Barito Putera from training on Friday, ahead of its first ISL match next weekend against Semen Padang in Banjarmasin. (Antara Photo/Herry Murdy Hermawan)
New ISL Season Kicks Off Despite Protests
FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Jakarta. Despite a high-profile recommendation to postpone the league opening, organizers Liga Indonesia and the Indonesian Football Federation, or PSSI, launched the new season of the Indonesian Super League in a gala dinner on Saturday night.
Liga Indonesia chief executive Joko Driyono said he hoped the upcoming season would provide new momentum for Indonesian football.
“We launched the ISL 2015 with the theme of love as we hope the competition will give new promise and will be more entertaining,” Joko said as quoted by ligaindonesia.co.id.
“The new season have to be a new momentum to reach new cheeriness for the club after long and suffering season in 2014. We hope clubs can take the new energy to embrace the new era.”
During the event, the league administrator also announced new television rights holders for the upcoming season.
Liga Indonesia, through BVSports, ties a partnership with two free-to-air television, Global TV and NET, and two pay-TV channels, BigTV and Matrix Garuda, to broadcast the ISL matches.
“Currently, were also in negotiations with another station, so there will be three TV stations who broadcast ISL matches,” BVSport president director Hari Widodo said.
He added that there would be around 150 matches to be aired through free-to-air TV.
Fans also can access the matches online through streaming on Domikado.com and listen to the live reports via Radio Republik Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the PSSI and Liga Indonesia held an emergency meeting before the gala dinner after an ad-hoc group consisting of the Ministry of Sports and the Indonesian Professional Sports Council (BOPI) recommended a postponement of the competition a day earlier.
“There will be huge consequences if we postpone the competition and it relates to players’ contracts and our partnerships with sponsors,” Joko said.
He added that Liga Indonesia and the PSSI have been trying to meet all requirements asked by BOPI and the ministry.
Persipura Jayapura urged the PSSI to stick to the plan as clubs have been preparing for months and have signed players.
“We didn’t agree with the recommendation. We have done many things to prepare for the upcoming season, signing coaching staff and players,” Persipura chairman Benhur Tommy Mano said, as quoted by Antara.
Persipura is scheduled to play defending champion Persib Bandung in the ISL curtain-raiser at Si Jalak Harupat Stadium in Soreang, West Java, on Friday.