LIB Meets Police Ahead of New Season: Match Permits and VAR on the Agenda, but Can VAR Effectively Combat Controversy?

In November 2017, in the heart of Indonesian football, a historic match unfolded between bitter rivals Persija and Persib in Solo. The stakes couldn’t have been higher and the atmosphere crackled with anticipation as fans packed the Manahan Stadium, ready to witness a clash of titans.

At the 27th minute, Ezechiel Ndouassel, wearing the famous blue jersey of Persib, rose above the crowded penalty area, meeting a perfectly delivered corner kick with a powerful header. The ball soared through the air, brushing against the roof of the net as it crossed the line, only to bounce back into play. The stadium erupted in celebration, convinced that Persib had scored a legitimate goal.

However, the match took an unexpected turn when the referee, Shaun Evans, waved off the goal, deeming it unworthy of counting. The decision sent shockwaves through the crowd, leaving players, coaches, and fans dumbfounded. The replay confirmed what everyone already knew: the ball had indeed crossed the line, making it a valid goal. Yet, the referee’s decision stood, robbing Persib of a crucial scoring opportunity.

Months after the game, Persija player Bambang Pamungkas, who stood merely a meter away from the goalposts, admitted in his blog that the goal should have counted. He acknowledged that even he, as a player, recognized the clear truth that the ball had crossed the line. His belated admission highlighted the magnitude of the referee’s erroneous judgment.

This infamous incident sparked nationwide debate and controversy, shining a spotlight on the urgent need for change within Indonesian football. Such an incident, and other horrendous decisions plaguing Indonesian football, also raised the question of whether the introduction of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology could have prevented such a contentious decision.

VAR, with its ability to review critical decisions using video replays, emerged as a potential solution that could have averted the controversy. It would have provided the referee with an additional perspective, allowing for a fair and accurate judgment. The integration of VAR in Indonesian football presents an opportunity to enhance the integrity and fairness of the game.

However, the introduction of VAR should not be seen as a panacea for all controversies. While it offers the promise of eliminating glaring errors, its effectiveness depends on the competence and consistency of match officials. Indonesian football has witnessed numerous controversial refereeing decisions throughout its history, with the Persija versus Persib match serving as a glaring example.

One thing for sure, VAR is ultraexpensive, particularly for Indonesian standard.

Implementing VAR requires comprehensive reforms that enhance referee training programs, implement standardized protocols, and foster transparency and accountability. The inclusion of VAR in the upcoming season, as part of the discussions between PT Liga Indonesia Baru (LIB) and the Indonesian National Police (Polri), represents a commitment to improving the integrity and fairness of Indonesian football.

However, it is crucial to approach VAR implementation with caution and realism. It should be seen as a valuable tool but not a magical solution. Its success relies on creating a robust framework that combines technological advancements with the continuous development of officiating standards.

As the discussions continue, the inclusion of VAR represents a step forward in addressing controversies in Indonesian football. It is a collective effort involving various stakeholders to ensure that VAR becomes an effective and meaningful addition to the sport.

The verdict on VAR’s effectiveness in combatting controversy in Indonesian football remains to be seen. Its implementation should serve as a catalyst for comprehensive reforms that elevate the quality of refereeing and uphold the principles of fairness and integrity. Indonesian football has the opportunity to forge a path where controversies are minimized, and the beautiful game can be enjoyed by all.

Police Permits: A Crucial Element in Ensuring Smooth Fixture Schedule and Financial Stability

Also, during the meeting between LIB and Polri, discussions were held regarding match permits for the upcoming season, slated to commence in the first week of July. The issuance of permits by the police plays a vital role in ensuring the smooth operation of football matches, maintaining the integrity of the competition, and promoting financial stability for clubs.

Last season, several games had to be postponed or rescheduled due to delays in obtaining police permits. This resulted in significant challenges for clubs, including last-minute ticket sales and logistical issues. One notable example was Persib Bandung, who had to start selling tickets on the matchday due to permit issuance being too close to the scheduled game. Such situations created inconvenience for fans and impacted the clubs’ ability to seek sponsors and generate gate receipts.

By having fixed and reliable fixture schedules, clubs are better positioned to plan their operations, attract sponsors, and maximize revenue streams. Timely permit issuance allows clubs to promote matches well in advance, secure sponsorship deals, and ensure smooth ticketing processes. It enables clubs to create a positive matchday experience for fans and generates a more stable financial environment for the clubs themselves.

Streamlining the process of obtaining permits benefits clubs and enhances the overall professionalism and reputation of Indonesian football. Efficient permit procedures enable clubs to allocate resources effectively, plan marketing campaigns, and enhance fan engagement initiatives.

Improving the permit issuance process can create a favorable environment that fosters the growth and development of clubs and the sport as a whole. Addressing challenges related to permit timelines will enhance efficiency and financial stability within Indonesian football.


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