Arifin Panigoro and His Struggle in Football Reform in Indonesia

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Arifin Panigoro died at the Americas Mayo Clinic, Rochester, United States, Sunday at 14.29 local time or Monday, February 28, 2022 Indonesian time.

During his lifetime, the founder of PT Medco Energi Internasional Tbk was also known as one of the important figures in the Indonesian football reform movement. He even initiated the Indonesian Premier League in 2011.

“What has been given to Indonesian football is a lot and is quite meaningful. He spent his time and thoughts on Indonesian football,” said Yon Moeis, a former sports journalist, remembering Arifin’s figure in football.

Yon told how Arifin together with people who care about football created the “National Reform Movement” because they wanted to improve football in the country in 2010.

“My friends and I went to Jenggala, told about the condition of Indonesian football. Arifin was challenged. We then made a white paper on Indonesian Football Reform,” said Yon.

The white paper was then handed over to the President of the Republic of Indonesia, which was then directly held by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2010.

“We handed over the white paper to SBY in Cikeas on the eve of the 2010 World Cup final with the hope that the country will join us in our movement,” he said.

Referring to the birth of the Indonesian Premier League, Yon, who was also involved in initiating the soccer competition, emphasized that LPI was built to provide an example of how to manage a club that is good and right, managing a competition that is free from mafia.

“FIFA cannot prohibit a person or group from establishing competition anywhere,” said Yon.

However, the LPI competition could not continue and could only roll for half a season because many did not want our movement to continue.

Arifin was also involved in winning the PSSI Congress in Solo in 2011. The victory of the group supported by Arifin gave hope for the improvement of football in Indonesia, although the journey did not go smoothly.

“What should not be forgotten, Arifin and his friends succeeded in eliminating the regional budget for professional club fees,” said Yon.

Currently, professional clubs are no longer funded from the regional budget. They are trying to get sponsors from other parties.

Arifin has also launched Liga Medco for children every year since 2006. This competition runs for up to six seasons.

According to Yon, Arifin never stopped thinking about football, even though he did not directly own a club or be involved in the management of the federation.

Last year, Yon Moeis had a chance to meet Arifin Panigoro at his house, in Jenggala. At that time, the founder of PT Medco discussed his plan to build a soccer school in Maleber, Cipanas, to be able to produce top soccer players. “The concept already exists, but it hasn’t materialized yet,” said Yon.

Also Read: The figure of Arifin Panigoro, Once a PDIP Cadre to Founding the PDP