After many tumultuous years suffering at the hands of their employers – the clubs, the professional players in this south-east Asian hotbed of football are striving towards the creation of a players’ association.

With approximately 700 professionals plying their trade in the 36-team two tier Indonesian league called ‘LigaDjarum Indonesia’ the time is ripe for the players, an important stakeholder in the domestic game be given a collective voice to ensure their welfare is taken care of.

Former international, VennardHutabarat has been appointed by FIFPro as the Indonesian Players’ Representative and is in charge of organising the players and obtaining their support for this initiative.

Hutabarat, highlighted the plight of Indonesia’s professional players when he made a presentation at the inaugural FIFPro Asia Mini-Congress in Sydney last October, which proved to be the starting point for his crusade to put an end to the problems afflicting the game in the country, including unpaid salaries, lack of insurance cover, no proper treatment of injuries and a dearth of FIFA licensed players’ agents.

“The players in Indonesia including the foreign professionals are treated very badly by their clubs and they have no way of getting help to fight for their rights. We need to get the support of all players to start an association but the difficult part is because Indonesia is a large country and the players are spread all over, the cost of going to meet them is very high,” said Hutabarat.

But he has been making strides and with the support of FIFPro Asia, he has already enlisted the assistance of a prominent local lawyer to establish a Players’ Association in accordance with the laws of Indonesia.

National team stalwarts, BambangPamungkas and FirmanUtina have also openly voiced their support Hutabarat’s project and as football is the number one sport in this vast country of 220 million, even the media is behind him and it is only a matter of time before Indonesian professionals establish their own association similar to that of their Australian counterparts.

FIFPro Asia Chairman, Brendan Schwab is optimistic of the progress being made in Indonesia and is convinced that after an unsuccessful attempt seven years ago, a bona fide players’ organisation will be formed in the near future.

As the long-term objective to create more players’ associations in Asia gathers momentum, FIFPro Asia will be convening a divisional meeting during the FIFA Congress that will be held in Sydney in May and the officials at the meeting shall include the Secretary General of FIFPro, Theo van Seggelen and representatives from Indonesia as well as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and India, which is a candidate member of the world players’ union, FIFPro.