Sat, 25 Mar 2000

Law enforcement needed to curb hooliganism

JAKARTA (JP): The Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) and security officers must apply stern measures against soccer fanatics who turn violent during matches, experts and soccer officials said.

Sociologist Paulus Wirutomo and PSSI's member of the research and evaluation board, R. Adang Ruchiatna, told a discussion on Friday that PSSI and club officials should also start reforming themselves to help curb hooliganism.

Paulus, who is a lecturer at the school of social and political science of the University of Indonesia, said that law enforcement officers should teach soccer fans how to behave during soccer matches.

"Soccer matches should be family entertainment. But nowadays, people tend to associate a match with conflict and a lower quality of play. If security officers take stern measures against hooligans, soccer matches can be fun for people from all walks of life," he said in a discussion titled "Rampage and Sport in Soccer" held jointly here by PSSI and local daily Media Indonesia.

Adang said that in many cases, club officials and security officers gave free meals to fans who had just run amok during a match and sent them home with free tickets.

"Violent fans have never been arrested or brought to court. Last year, fans who were caught red-handed during a rampage were sent home to Surabaya on a navy ship."

"Some fans were offered free meals on arriving at the railway station so they wouldn't turn violent when their club performed," he said.

He said that a club should suffer financial loss if they failed to control their fans. "They have to pay the security officers who safeguard the match. If rampage occurs, the club must compensate for the damage."

Paulus and Adang said that club officials should try to educate their fans and avoid provoking them.

"Club officials often fail to act professionally and tell their fans about the do's and don'ts in a soccer match. The important thing for the officials is how to win the game. In many cases, the club officials instigate the situation by provoking their fans," Adang said.

He also said that match supervisors and referees were subject to bribery because of their low stipends. He also found that many referees had forged their school diplomas so they could attend a referee course and earn a certificate.

"PSSI has increased referee stipends from Rp 350,000 to Rp 500,000, but I don't think that amount can support a person today. It takes time to improve their living standard," he said.

Paulus said that the government and the soccer officials should help teach enthusiasts to be more civilized.

"Sport is a human effort to civilize its aggressiveness. So sports should make humans more civilized. Government and soccer officials can socialize competitions, making sports fans more civilized," he said. (ivy)