Jakarta. The Indonesian Football Association, or PSSI, on Tuesday urged the government to allow the resumption of the country’s top-tier competition Liga 1, which has been suspended since the October 1 deadly crush that killed over 130 people in the East Java town of Malang.
PSSI Chairman Mochamad Iriawan said he made the “urgent call” because many people depend on the competition to make a living.
He claimed that the association has followed all directives from the government, the world football governing body FIFA, and the Asian Football Confederation regarding measures to improve stadium safety and match procedures in compliance with international standards following the tragic incident.
"I am appealing for immediate [resumption] because we have done anything we could," Iriawan was quoted by Antara news agency as saying.
"We feel pity for them if the competition is stopped early. Players, kit men, and SME traders will be dealt with great suffering," the retired police general said.
Earlier in the day, representatives from the Association of Indonesian Professional Footballers (APPI) visited the PSSI office in Jakarta to brief them about the economic impact of the unexpected hiatus.
"It is about the livelihood of players. If this condition continues, there will be new problems," APPI President Andritany Ardhiyasa said.
Liga 1 organizing company Liga Indonesia Baru has proposed the restart of the competition on November 18, November 25, or December 2 so that it can be concluded in April next year at the latest because Indonesia will host the U-20 World Cup in May.
The company also expects the government to decide before it conducts an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on November 15.
Liga 1 involves 18 teams with each having played only 11 matches at the most before the suspension of the total 34 matches any team must play throughout the season.
The top seven teams in the standing are separated by just four points. Arema Football Club, whose supporters made up nearly the overall death toll in the crush, currently stood at ninth.