Indonesian club to resist tobacco sponsorship ban

The 2006 Dji Sam Soe Indonesia Cup champion, Arema Malang FC of East Java, has no plans to remove the X-Mild sponsor logo from its shirts in 2007 despite the Indonesian Professional League Board (BLI) threatening fines, manager Satriya Budi Wibawa said. Arema is one of two clubs from East Java province representing Indonesia in the forthcoming AFC Champions League.

The BLI will reportedly fine Arema and any other club breaching its new regulation Rp 100 million (US$10,990) per match and an additional Rp 50 million per match if the club puts another sponsor's logo on A-boards in the stadium. The BLI will also slash the points earned by the rule-breaking clubs.

The BLI has promised compensation of Rp 500 million for clubs forced to forgo individual sponsorship deals with competing tobacco companies because of the league's four year sponsorship deal with the Djarum company which commenced in 2004 and injects about US$40 million into the Premier League and Division One each year.

Satriya said although the fines would be hard for the club to bear, losing its exclusive Rp 15 billion contract with X-Mild, a cigarette brand produced by Bentoel, the company which owns Arema, would put it under greater pressure.

See also: Clash of tobacco sponsors upsets Indonesian club (23 Dec)