Talking Indonesia: football and fan culture

Despite a lack of international success, football is the most popular spectator sport in Indonesia. Indonesian football is known for its strong and passionate fan culture. Rivalries are so fierce that violent clashes among supporters are not uncommon. In one of the most recent incidents, on 15 May, a teenage supporter of the Jakarta-based Persija club died in police custody after being arrested following a confrontation with supporters from Persela Lamongan.


What are the main challenges for the development of Indonesian football? What does fan culture in Indonesia look like: who supports football and in what ways? What can be done to make the game better for players and spectators alike, and what role should be played by football federations outside of Indonesia?


In this edition of Talking Indonesia, I discuss these issues and more with Dr Andy Fuller, whose research interests centre on the intersection of sporting and urban cultures. He is the founder and editor of Reading Sideways, a multi-authored blog on the cultures, infrastructures and practices of sports.


Talking Indonesia is a fortnightly podcast presenting extended interviews with experts on Indonesian politics, foreign policy, language, culture and more. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen to the entire Talking Indonesia podcast via Stitcher.


Persis Solo’s Pasoepati supporter group. Photo by Andy Fuller.