As the highest professional level of football in Indonesia, Liga 1 is bound by a regulation that says no expat player can participate without having a temporary resident permit, better known as a KITAS (Kartu Izin Tinggal Sementara).
The warning was disclosed by Noor Aman, the head of Badan Olahraga Profesional Indonesia
(BOPI) – the authorized Indonesian foundation that coaches, develops and supervises professional sports. Noor also stated that punishment will be given to anyone who violates the rules.
Although BOPI routinely reminds all of the Indonesian football clubs who participate in Liga 1, many still disregard the rule.
On April 15, 2017, two former Chelsea football players named Michael Essien and Carlton Cole participated in a Liga 1 match without having their KITAS permits. As much was confirmed by the Immigration Office of Bandung.
Section Chief of Immigration Supervisory Activity and Enforcement Agustianur stated that so far, officials have not yet received KITAS requests via the appropriate legal channels for the two players. As such, letting the players participate in the match violated government regulation number 31 of 2013, which mandates that all foreigners who will carry out activities in Indonesia must have a KITAS with them. This includes professional football players.
Aside from violating the immigration rules, the two marquee players from Persib (Bandung’s professional football club) have also apparently violated FIFA general regulations, as well as an agreement between BOPI and PT Liga Indonesia Baru.
Regarding the matter, Secretary General of BOPI Heru Nugroho said to Pikiran Rakyat that PT Liga Indonesia Baru as a football competition operator has disobeyed the regulation by letting foreign players participate in Liga 1 without KITAS permits.
According to Nugroho, the violation shows unprofessionalism on the part of PT Liga Indonesia Baru for not being able to keep to the agreement. He also feels that as Liga 1’s operator, PT Liga Indonesia Baru should keep from repeating the same mistake on the national level.
Nugroho asked PT Liga Indonesia Baru for a list of other expatriate players so as to prevent another violation. He predicted it is likely that more clubs with foreign players participating in Liga 1 still have not sorted out a KITAS for their foreign team members.
Furthermore, he will soon inform the Directorate General of Immigration regarding the violation. Nugroho stated that as the competition operator, PT Liga Indonesia Baru could be charged with violation of the Labour Law’s article 42, which states:
“If there are companies or employers hiring foreign workers without permits, the companies will be subject to criminal sanctions of imprisonment between one and four years or fined between Rp.100 million (US$7,520) and Rp 400 million (US$30,000).”
Image credits: Essien and Cole