British football is a phenomenon in Indonesia as millions of people across the archipelago have built fan clubs to demonstrate their love for the sport. UK Ambassador to Indonesia Moazzam Malik thinks Indonesian football fans might be the answer to Liverpool’s economy.
Over the years, Indonesian football fans have consistently shown support for British football clubs by organizing events like nobar (watching football matches together) and selling merchandise for teams in the UK. Meanwhile, local fan clubs for overseas teams continue to expand in the country.
It is also not uncommon for football stars to visit fans in the archipelago. Big clubs like Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC have even played in the Gelora Bung Karno stadium against the Indonesian national team.
Acknowledging the fan power of British football in Indonesia, UK Ambassador to Indonesia Moazzam Malik revealed that the Indonesian fanbase might be the perfect strategy to strengthen ties between the two nations. What is even more interesting is the fact that it could also help boost the economies in both Jakarta and Liverpool.
In the case of Liverpool FC, the club that has gained the most popularity in the archipelago, Malik thinks that this is more than possible.
“There’s so much potential in this market through football, not only to push football but to push a wider range of business partnerships and relationships,” Malik said as quoted by Liverpool Echo. The UK ambassador also thinks that aside from football, plenty of Indonesians admire Liverpool’s culture, which would help the city pull in more investors.
Liverpool FC reportedly has more than 66 million fans, with one official centre for supporters and 24 sub-branches across the archipelago. In 2014, Liverpool FC even signed a deal with national airline Garuda Indonesia as its first training kit sponsor.
Malik also believes that Indonesia will be “a driver of the 21st century”. Indonesia’s unique status as the world’s largest Muslim-majority and fourth most populous country make the nation a significant player in the global market. The ambassador boldly believes all these elements, combined with archipelago’s love for UK football, make Indonesia potentially more attractive as a whole to British investors. And Liverpool is where both nations can start, says Malik.
The UK ambassador also said he is now discussing ways for Liverpool and Surabaya to work together. Locals here are interested in having the ultimate Liverpool experience by getting to know more about sectors like port and logistics, advanced manufacturing, renewable energy and the creative industry. As a port city, Malik thinks Surabaya can learn from Liverpool.
“Surabaya is a huge port city, Indonesia’s second-largest port. There are things they can learn from Liverpool. They can partner with Liverpool. In sports, creative industries and higher education, there’s a lot we can do,” Malik added.
Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons; Video via Youtube