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Jakarta Post

Arema vs. Persebaya soccer match moved over fears of fan clash

  • Asip Hasani

    The Jakarta Post

Blitar, East Java   /   Tue, February 18, 2020   /   10:56 am
Arema vs. Persebaya soccer match moved over fears of fan clash Players of the Persebaya Surabaya soccer club train in Blitar, East Java, on Monday ahead of an East Java Governor's Cup semifinal match against Arema FC on Tuesday. (JP/Asip Hasani)

The East Java chapter of the Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) has made a sudden decision to move the semifinal match of the East Java Governor's Cup between Arema FC and Persebaya to Blitar Supriyadi Stadium. The match is scheduled to be held on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. 

Originally, the match was to take place at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang.

PSSI Blitar branch chief Yudi Meira told reporters on Monday that the decision was made under consideration of the long rivalry between fan groups of the two clubs, Arema FC's Aremania and Persebaya's Bonek.  

Yudi said the match would be held without spectators. 

"We hope the semifinal match will go well without any incident. I, as the match host, will coordinate with the police and the Indonesian Military to make sure the match runs smoothly," he said. 

Both Aremania and Bonek are known for their violent attitude, and they have a long history of enmity between them. Members of the two have frequently engaged in clashes prior to or after soccer matches. 

Read also: Soccer a deadly game in Indonesia

Blitar Police chief Adj. Comr. Leonard Sinambela said police and military personnel would create three rings of security to secure the match despite the decision that it would be held without spectators in the stadium. 

"The outer ring will ensure that supporters coming to the city will not bring any weapons. The second ring will ensure the two camps of supporters gather in different locations near the stadium," he said.

He said police would also anticipate the presence of supporters of the two clubs from Blitar city and regency. 

Leonard said the Blitar Police, backed by the East Java Police, would deploy more than 700 officers for the event.

The other semifinal match between Madura United and Persija Jakarta was held on Monday at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java.

The East Java Governor's Cup is organized by PSSI East Java.