Indonesian volleyballers are preparing for an earlier-than-usual return to the Proliga competition next year to avoid clashing with national elections, in which campaigning is set to intensify in March, organizers announced on Tuesday.
The tournament, to be held next year from Jan. 11 to March 16, is usually scheduled in February and March.
“This is the best way to avoid the election, especially the cooling-off period, where activities involving a huge mass [of people] are not allowed,” Proliga director Hanny Surkatty told reporters.
Organizers hope to avoid the circumstances experienced during the 2009 competition, when police rejected the permit to hold the Proliga final four event in Magetan, East Java, during a cooling-off period. The event was held without spectators.
“We don’t want this to happen again because we know participating clubs have allocated huge budgets for the tournament,” Hanny said. “But the decision brings consequences. Clubs must be ready to play in a tight schedule.”
The organizers will soon distribute application forms to club candidates and pick seven to compete in each of the men’s and women’s draws. The deadline is in August. Hanny said organizers will give priority to two men’s and two women’s teams that have already signed two-year participation agreements. The contracts are due to end next year.
Already registered to play next year in the men’s draw are Jakarta Electric PLN and Semarang Bank Jateng, while in the women’s competition Jakarta Pertamina Energi and Valeria Manokwari Papua Barat, the only club from eastern Indonesia have been given the green light to compete.
Hanny said the lack of Kitas work permits for foreign players damaged this year’s Proliga event, with some players unable to compete in the early rounds.
The Kitas problem blocked Tian Mei, the Chinese coach of Jakarta Electric PLN women’s team, as well as a player from China and another from the United States from competing in this year’s first round.
Hanny said he hoped clubs would prioritize the preparation of Kitas permits ahead of next year’s competition.
The men’s defending champion is Palembang-based Bank Sumsel-Babel, while the women’s winner this year was Jakarta Popsivo PGN.
Meanwhile, Bina Sarana Informatika university says it will sign another one-year deal to sponsor the tournament.