Muhammadiyah and Football: History and the Present – Lapangan Asri, located in Wirobrajan, Yogyakarta City is a legendary location. This field was built by Ir. Soeratin Sosrosoegondo, who would later be known as the first general chairman of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI). In this field, Muslims perform Eid prayers every Eid and Eid al-Adha, so Asri is often associated with the acronym Arena Sholat Riyaya (Prayer Field of Celebrations).

Di lapangan ini, klub sepakbola Hizbul Wathan (yang selanjutnya disebut dengan PS HW) berlatih dan bermarkas. Klub ini di Yogyakarta menjadi klub internal Persatuan Sepakbola Indonesia Mataram (PSIM). Pada perkembangannya, PS HW berlaga di Liga 3 dengan menggunakan nama PS HMY UMY, setelah bekerja sama dengan Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY).

On this field, the Hizbul Wathan football club (hereinafter referred to as PS HW) trains and convenes. This club became an internal club of the Indonesian Mataram Football Association(PSIM). During its development, PS HW competed in Liga 3 under the name PS HMY UMY, after collaborating with universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY).

The history of Indonesian and Muhammadiyah football began when football developed in the colonial period. The first treasurer of PSSI was Abdul Hamid, a figure from the central board of Muhammadiyah. Together with Soeratin and union representatives from various cities, they founded PSSI in 1930. From this, we can understand why Soeratin became the architect of Asri’s field development.

Muhammadiyah’s footprints can also be traced in Solo. Muhammadiyah has a close relationship with the Surakarta Indonesian Football Association (Persis) Solo. Muhammad Ilham Syifai in his article titled Symbiosis Persis Solo with Harakah Muhammadiyah, contained in the book Taking Care of Indonesian Football (2019), wrote that Muhammadiyah’s gait to Persis was seen when the club had no office.

Before 1954, Balai Persis had not yet been established. Muhammadiyah provided a plot of space in the Muhammadiyah Solo Hall . Muhammad Ilham Syifai mentioned that the name of the secretariat office that was used was exactly the same as the name of the building owned by Muhammadiyah, namely “Balai”.

Muhammadiyah’s achievements through its charitable efforts can be seen back in the Indonesian League era. In 2000, Arema Malang had difficulty competing in the final eight. Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM) provided assistance to the club. Arema Malang competed with UMM’s financial assistance.

When the soccer competition continued after the prolonged conflict that plagued PSSI, PSIM Yogyakarta, which was experiencing financial difficulties to compete in League 2 in 2017, received assistance from Ahmad Dahlan University (UAD).

The Head of the UAD Financial and Asset Bureau, Afan Kurniawan said that UAD’s efforts to help PSIM through sponsorship schemes were motivated by the reason that the UAD campus is located near Mandala Krida, the local stadium own by PSIM. They also did this to help develop Indonesian professional football. Before becoming a PSIM sponsor, UAD had managed a League 3 club named UAD FC.

In Sleman, Universitas ‘Aisyiyah (UNISA) assisted PSS Sleman by providing collaborative facilities, especially physiotherapy for PSS players in 2019. The campus managed by‘ Aisyiyah is known to have high-quality physiotherapy facilities. The Indonesian national soccer team and several League 1 players have undergone therapy at UNISA, including David Da Silva, the Persebaya Surabaya offense.

UNISA’s role in the amateur soccer competition managed by the PSSI Sleman Regency Association is to provide medical support during the competition. This makes the football competition in Sleman more lively, because of the availability of adequate medical facilities. Unsurprisingly, the PSS U-17 team that represented DIY in the Suratin Cup succeeded in placing third in the national competition.

Wahyudi Kurniawan, deputy chairman of the PSSI Province Association (Asprov) Special Region of Yogyakarta, appreciated the steps the Muhammadiyah campus took to support football. “The cooperation of the Muhammadiyah campuses in the management of Indonesian football from League 1 to League 3 is a role model for football and campus development,” he explained. the Alumni of the UMY Faculty of Social and Political Sciences added that other Muhammadiyah business charities such as hospitals could play a role in developing Indonesian football through sponsorship, cooperation and even ownership schemes.

If Muhammadiyah hospitals become sponsors by providing health facilities, especially ambulances and medical personnel, then clubs in various cities will no longer experience difficulties. Instead, Muhammadiyah hospitals will become more known in their respective regions.

Imagine also if the Muhammadiyah campuses provided scholarships for football academy players in League 1 clubs, even if a special sports class is needed. The academy players can still undergo formal education, and the name of the campus will always be remembered by the club and its fans. The soccer field on campus can be upgraded so that it can become a club training ground. The campus can become a sponsor through this method.

Muhammadiyah’s activists’ role in football, be it as a PSSI administrator, club owner/manager, or football school owner/manager and so on, could be another method for developing Muhammadiyah’s future work.

In Sidoarjo, Universitas Muhammadiyah Sidoarjo (UMSIDA) became a sponsor for Persebaya U 19 by providing scholarships for players. Universitas Muhammadiyah Surabaya (UMSurabaya) became a sponsor of Persebaya. The East Java Muhammadiyah Regional Board even took the step of buying Semeru FC and turning it into the East Java HW Study Program.

The Hizbul Wathan League which was rolled out to celebrate the Muktamar Muhammadiyah Congress in 2020 could become a golden bridge for the clubs owned by Muhammadiyah to participate in it and develop into a League 3 club, following in the footsteps of UAD FC and PS HW UMY.




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