Football in Indonesia
The Indonesian national team plays at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta
Governing bodyPSSI
National team(s)Garuda
First played1934
National competitions
International competitions

Association football is the most popular sport in Indonesia, in terms of annual attendance, participation and revenue. It is played on all levels, from children to middle-aged men.[1] Liga 1, the Indonesian domestic league is popular. The national body is the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI).[2] The Indonesian football league started around 1930 in the Dutch colonial era.

Indonesia Football Association

Main article: Football Association of Indonesia

The government authority overseeing football activities in Indonesia is the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI).[3] PSSI is responsible for the coordination and administration of men's, women's, and futsal national teams, in addition to overseeing the management of the Indonesian League.[4][1]

Indonesian League System

Main article: Indonesian football league system

In 1993, PSSI combined the existing "Galatama" which was a semi-professional competition and an amateur competition "Perserikatan" (lit.'Union') to be a single professional competition for football clubs, known as the Indonesian League (Liga Indonesia).[5] From 1994 to 2007, the format of the top division competition was a combination of double round-robin format and a single eliminations second round for several top teams of the table to decide the champions.[6] Starting from 2008–09 season onwards, the competition format changed into a more common system that is also being used in most European football leagues.[7] The single elimination round was removed and the competition became a full double round-robin league system.[8] The name also changed into Indonesia Super League.[5] Since 2017, the top league is named Liga 1.[5]

Men's team

Main article: Indonesia national football team

On the international stage, Indonesia experienced limited success despite being the first Asian team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. In 1938, they played as the Dutch East Indies.[9] Losing 0–6 to Hungary in a then-direct knockout stage, Indonesia became the only country to play only one match in the World Cup and has never qualified again since.[10]

In 1956, the football team played in the Summer Olympics and earned a hard-fought 0–0 draw against then footballing superpower Soviet Union, led by the legendary Lev Yashin playing in goal for the Soviets, before losing 0–4 on the replay match.[11] On the continental level, Indonesia won the bronze medal in the 1958 Asian Games.[12] Indonesia's first appearance in Asian Cup dates back to 1996. With a draw against Kuwait in their first match and two defeats in the following two matches against Korea Republic and the host, UAE, Indonesia finished bottom of group A with a solitary point.[13] In 2000, they again forced a draw against Kuwait, but then lost to China and the Korea Republic.[13]

In 2004, the national team recorded their first-ever win in the Asian Cup against Qatar, but the dreams of the nation of going to the second round were shattered due to the defeats against China and Bahrain in the following group games.[13] Indonesia beat Bahrain in 2007 AFC Asian Cup as one of the four co-hosts but the qualification dream was again shattered after two defeats by Asian superpowers Saudi Arabia and for the third time against the Korea Republic.[13] However, Indonesia failed to qualify to the 2011 (finished bottom of Group B in the qualifiers) and 2015 (finished bottom of Group C in the qualifiers) Asian Cups without winning any single match, and could not play any single qualifying match in 2019 after their football association was suspended due to governmental interference.[13] But again, at the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar, their first appearance in 16 years, Indonesia managed to advance to the round of 16 after being among the four best third-placed teams, marking a historic achievement in the legacy of Indonesian football.[14]

The youth teams occasionally qualified for the AFC U-20 Asian Cup (U-20 team) and AFC U-17 Asian Cup (U-17 team). The U-19 team is the only Indonesian team to ever win continental-level tournament, share-winning the U-19 Championship in 1961 with Burma. The team is also the only one to qualify for a FIFA tournament under the name "Indonesia", playing in the 1979 U-20 World Cup and again in the 2023 U-17 World Cup in which they automatically qualified as host.


Main article: List of football clubs in Indonesia

Indonesia has 7 traditional football teams where all of them are the founders of PSSI, the Indonesian football association. The seven teams are, Persib Bandung, Persija Jakarta, Persis Solo, Persebaya Surabaya, PSIS Semarang, PSIM Yogyakarta, and PSM Madiun. These seven teams are regulated directly in the rules of the Indonesian football federation where these seven teams are not allowed to change their name or change their logo significantly.[15]

PSM Makassar is the oldest professional football team in Indonesia, it was founded on 2 November 1905 under the name Makassaarsche Voetbal Bond.[16] Meanwhile, the oldest amateur and also oldest football club in Indonesia is UNI Bandung, which was founded in 1903 and is now an internal club under the auspices of Persib Bandung.[17]

Women's football

Main articles: Women's football in Indonesia and Indonesia women's national football team

The country has never qualified for any FIFA women's tournament. However, the team has twice finished as high as fourth in the AFC Women's Asian Cup, in 1977 and 1986.

In December 2017, Women's Football Association of Indonesia (ASBWI) was created in their first congress in Palembang.[18]

In 2019 Liga 1 Putri was launched as the top-flight women's football league in Indonesia.[19]


Despite having a reputation as one of the most passionate fans, Indonesia also has a reputation for violent hooliganism. Aside from the 135 that died in the Kanjuruhan Stadium disaster, there have been at least 95 football-related deaths between 2005 and 2018.[20][21][22] On the world stage, Indonesia also has an intense rivalry with Malaysia. Fans of the two teams regularly have fights, with the recent case happening during the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC), in which Indonesian fans harassed and provoking the Malaysian fans during their defeat at their home ground, Gelora Bung Karno Stadium. After the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, Indonesian fans also took to social media to insult, harass, and send death threats to Vietnamese players, and even their families, in response to the loss in the final to Vietnam. Indonesia have been warned and banned several times by FIFA due to their act of hooliganism and sometimes having their government intervening on PSSI.[23]

The third biggest football disaster in the world also occurred in Indonesia. Violence reoccurred at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, where 135 people died and hundreds were injured. The incident began when Aremania, Arema supporters who did not accept that their team suffered defeat against their rival, Persebaya. Where riots spread in the stands to exit the stadium. The police threw tear gas and caused the death in the stadium.[24]

See also


  1. ^ a b Aubrey Belford. "In Indonesia, a Scandal Over Soccer". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-05-02. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  2. ^ "Duerden: Indonesian football in turmoil". Espn Fc. 2012-12-11. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  3. ^ "Football Every Day » PSSI: Indonesian football in 'such a mess' at the moment". 2013-05-22. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  4. ^ John Duerden. "The battles facing Indonesian football - Football". Al Jazeera English. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  5. ^ a b c "Go-Jek Traveloka Liga 1". PSSI - Football Association of Indonesia (in Indonesian). Archived from the original on 8 November 2017.
  6. ^ Karami, Luzman Rifqi (26 August 2011). "Sejarah Kompetisi Sepak Bola Indonesia". (in Indonesian).
  7. ^ "ISL, Premier League Rasa Indonesia". (in Indonesian). 10 July 2008.
  8. ^ "Liga Super Indonesia (ISL) dari Masa ke Masa". (in Indonesian). 7 November 2014.
  9. ^ Tom Allard (2010-06-26). "Indonesian soccer fans' world of pain". Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  10. ^ Tertiari, Hakiki (8 November 2022). "2 Rekor Timnas Indonesia di Piala Dunia yang Sulit Dipecahkan Sampai Kiamat Sekalipun!". (in Indonesian).
  11. ^ Pasi, Serafin Unus (26 July 2021). "Kisah Perjalanan Timnas Indonesia Mengharu Biru Olimpiade 1956". (in Indonesian).
  12. ^ Nurikhsani, Gregah (7 May 2020). "Mengenang Asian Games 1958, Prestasi Terbaik Timnas Indonesia di Panggung Sepak Bola". (in Indonesian) – via
  13. ^ a b c d e Yanto, Muhammad (15 June 2022). "Perjalanan Timnas Indonesia di Piala Asia: 5 Kali Lolos dan Gol Widodo yang Menggemparkan". (in Indonesian).
  14. ^ Arifin, Yanu (26 January 2024). "4 Tim Cetak Sejarah Lolos 16 Besar Piala Asia 2023, Salah Satunya Indonesia". (in Indonesian).
  15. ^ "Mengenal 7 Klub Pendiri PSSI, Salah Satunya Bikin Sedih". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 6 December 2022.
  16. ^ "Sejarah PSM Makassar, Awal Kemunculan Klub Sepak Bola di Indonesia". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 6 December 2022.
  17. ^ "UNI, Eks Klub Anggota Persib Bandung Masih Berdiri Tegak". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 6 December 2022.
  18. ^ Wirayudha, Randy (19 April 2018). "Sepakbola Kaum Hawa Merentang Masa" [Women's Football Time-to-Time]. (in Indonesian). Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  19. ^ "Indonesia enters new era as Liga 1 women's soccer league begins". The Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 2020-08-08.
  20. ^ "Soccer a deadly game in Indonesia". The Jakarta Post. 25 September 2018. The PSSI has recorded 95 soccer-related deaths in Indonesia since 2005
  21. ^ Duerden, John (13 October 2018). "Hooliganism is killing Indonesia's beautiful game". Asia Times. Indonesia Soccer Association chairman Edy Rahmayadi said that the death was the league's 95th football related death since 2005
  22. ^ "Indonesia's top league suspended after fan dies". Reuters. 26 September 2018. Fan violence has been endemic in Indonesia in modern times and deaths a regular occurrence. Rahmayadi stated that Haringga was the 95th football-related death since 2005.
  23. ^ Multiple sources:
  24. ^ "Tragedi Kanjuruhan, Polisi: 3.000 Penonton Turun ke Lapangan Usai Laga Arema Vs Persebaya" [Kanjuruhan Tragedy, Police: 3.000 Viewers Came Down to the Pitch After Arema Vs Persebaya Match]. (in Indonesian). 2 October 2022. Archived from the original on 2 October 2022. Retrieved 4 October 2022.