Generic Player Silhouette

Denied salary and reported to the police: Kalteng Putra players break silence

Player story

Share this quote

Generic Player Silhouette

Players from Indonesian second-tier side Kalteng Putra have not been paid in months. When they protested by going on strike, the club told them to leave, and when they posted their complaints on social media, the club reported them to the police. One of the 25 affected players, speaking anonymously and on behalf of his team-mates, shares his experience.

By Player X

At first, we enjoyed playing for Kalteng Putra. We had a good team and we were hoping to get the club promoted to the country’s top-flight: Liga 1. But it turned out halfway through the season that the club were not financially stable.

When the club stopped paying us, I became anxious. All the players became anxious. We have families and we work to support our families. If we don’t get paid, we cannot meet their needs. It was difficult to focus on training and playing, as we were thinking a lot about the things happening off the pitch.

We had asked the club’s management on several occasions to solve the situation: we called them, sent text messages, used WhatsApp. But the club’s CEO and his assistant rarely responded. It gave us a bad impression.

When they eventually responded, they told us they could not provide any guarantees about salary payments. It got to the point where we didn’t have faith in a positive outcome. And that’s when we decided to go on strike.

Our salary is our right. We have done the work. We have fulfilled our obligations as football players. Yet, we are still being denied what is rightfully ours by the club’s management.

We thought that if we would go on strike, the CEO might come up with a settlement for the salary arrears. But when we announced it, the manager told us that it would be better for us to go home.

Most of us don’t live in the Palangkaraya (Central Kalimantan) area. There is a dormitory where many players were staying and the CEO said that he couldn’t guarantee our safety if we would remain there. That message was very intimidating. There was now fear among the players.

Flag Of Indonesia

Usually only players, staff and officials visit our dormitory. Nobody else stays there. But the following afternoon, six strangers entered our dorm, followed by another three at 3am that night. They were telling us that we should play the match. To us, this seemed like a threat. We were afraid. We retreated to our rooms, praying that nothing sinister would happen to us.

We didn’t want to go home, but the next day we decided it was best for our own safety. We agreed that we would share a letter signed by all the players stating that we requested to meet with the CEO to resolve the situation with our salary payments as stipulated in our contract.

We also mentioned we were not being taken seriously by management, as the club were not respecting our rights. We posted it on social media to get our management’s attention, but instead they went to the police and reported us for defamation. It was surreal: our salary was not paid and yet we were the ones being reported to the police.

The local law enforcement wants to listen to us and we are willing to cooperate – but as the majority of players live on different islands, sometimes hours away, we would have to take flights and airline tickets are not cheap. As we haven’t been paid for months, we simply cannot afford it.

We hope that the Football Association of Indonesia, the PSSI, can resolve the situation. As players we want our rights to be respected. We worked hard for our families at home and most of our contracts still run for the next several months. This problem has been widely reported and it will have a bad impact on Indonesian football if it’s not solved – as it sends a message that there are no consequences for clubs when they treat workers this way.

Latest update

Indonesian player union APPI has held several discussions with the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) about the situation of the Kalteng Putra players, while FIFPRO has been communicating with the PSSI to resolve this situation.

The PSSI has vowed to start a mediation process between the players and the club’s management and announced that the club were going to discontinue the defamation case at the police. However, the players and Indonesian player association APPI are waiting for these steps to be implemented.

After meeting with APPI, the league – PT Liga Indonesia Baru – have held part of the club’s royalties, however this amount only equals around 10 percent of the total arrears of the players.