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A game not played

 

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emails received after the story made the headline of the jifl newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A game not played
(or: one rainy afternoon in Sentul *)

* a hamlet some 40 km south of Jakarta

by Alexander, former German Plus player, now webmaster of germanplus-indonesia.tripod.com, Berlin/Germany

The day, it was the 10th of December 2005, had as it started - all the ingredients of excitement. That is if you are intrigued by the Jakarta International Football League. There was the smell of an eternal competition in the air. Germany was pitched against England at the foothills of the South Jakarta highlands. With a win the young German team could continue their successful run out of the bottom of the league table, the British lads until the season before the underdogs of the league were vying for 2nd place. However, the weather, as it turned from sunny breeze to rainy storm in the afternoon, cooled off the suspense. Or, at least one would have thought so. Had the meteorological development been the only circumstance it might indeed have turned into a dull afternoon sending everybody home with a little frustration at the most.

But there were other elements, which cannot be identified as surely and easily as the shift in the weather. That is what this story is about. It is not about a windy afternoon bringing rain to the little hamlet of Sentul. That is nothing special for the guys who had traveled there for a nice competitive game of football. It may happen at any time in this latitude. Nothing worth loosing words about, just some more wasted time on Greater Jakarta roadways.

It was something else, mainly perceptions, different answers to the same questions: How many guys of each team were actually there to take on the other team? When did they arrive? At what time did the rain start? How fast took it the rain to turn the field in a muddy pool not worth playing on? What words were exchanged between the members of the teams? What role did the referees (at least their number seems to be confirmed with 3) play in the ensuing events? I dare not say, sitting some 12.000 km from the place where it all happened. But I cannot help a smile while fond memories of the JIFL and its protagonists fill my thoughts. So, let yourself be intrigued as the story unfolds. A little tropical storm developing into an emotional landslide. But do not worry. Rain and words will leave no traces, neither on the grass of Sentul nor on the souls on those caught in the events:

 

JIFL News N11.vol 2. Season 2005-2006

:: Edito (by Dale league coordinator)

 

One of the most satisfying events of anybody's life

 

Heeeeeeee Haw! Heeeeeee Haw!  It wasn't my intention and already last week I was praising them but this week we have the first ever 'Jack-Ass of the Week' Award for somebody at German Plus. I probably shouldn't even write this since that particular culprit most likely cannot even read English let alone speak or write it. 

 

That superb winner is none other than whoever made one of the league's most ridiculous decisions that I have heard of in the seven years that I have been here.

 

Here is the story as I gathered it from several sources: Game is scheduled at Sentul. German Plus is host. The Mighty Lions are the challengers. Kick-off is officially at 4:10 PM. Around 3:45 PM the heavens open up to a supreme rainstorm which pours on Sentul with lightning and thunder to boot. The X-Pats -vs.- Team Japan game is called off at halftime by the referees somewhere around 4:10-15 PM since their kick-off was scheduled at 3:40 PM. (Incidentally, it is now re-scheduled for the 2nd half of the season as is proper). The Lions, being caught in the storm on the way to Sentul, are understandably delayed and start to arrive at just after 4:00 PM in small groups as is usual. Meanwhile the pitch is flooded. Now, here is the punch line as the Lions are dressing for the match, somebody in the German side decides to line the Deutscher side up on the field quickly and have the referees take position. Referee blows the whistle and Germany kicks off against NOBODY! The referee is told to blow the whistle again and the Germans walk off the field and stake claim to two points stating that the match is forfeit since the Lions are not present. I know some of you are already laughing your asses off but wait there is more. The boys at German Plus refused to discuss the issue and packed up their gear and headed home leaving the Lions there wondering what the hell is going on.

 

Well, we can argue about several elements to this claim for instance: The league allows 15 to 20 minutes delay-start time for a team to assemble after the official appointed kick-off. We have all experienced this situation at one time or another. Captains are always accommodating and sympathetic since we all know how difficult it sometimes is to get all committed to a time and date depending on work schedules, traffic problems, etc. The point is that we are a football league and we all are here to actually play football. The key word in that sentence is 'play'. See, what happened here was that no game actually took place. Is that satisfying to anybody out there? Does anybody prefer to win by forfeit rather than to actually go into battle and prove that you are the better side on any particular day? I, for one, always want to play against your best side. I love it when my best side plays your best side. Then a good game of football ensues. Regardless of who wins, a really good game of football is rare and one of the most satisfying events of anybody's life. Winning it is icing on the cake. The cake is the match itself.  Nothing like it. Everybody goes home in a good mood. As I said, everybody is happy regardless of who actually wins.

 

So who was happy on Saturday? Anybody?

Now, if somebody wants to get technical about this and say that the Lions were late and therefore should be punished then that is another case. But, even so, the referees contacted me to let me know that the games were abandoned and that they should still get their half payment for travel time, etc. Of course, I agreed. There was no chance to play the game. And, even if both captains were to have agreed and decided to push ahead and give it a go then they would have had a seriously corrupted version of a game on a completely flooded pitch anyway. We have tried that before at Sentul and it is not even worth trying to play on it when it is in that condition. But, in that case, even if the captains do agree to play anyway on a flooded match with both knowing that there will be no quality to it whatsoever, at the very least, the day has some outcome to it. But on this particular day...?

 

Sounds like a waste of a Saturday to me and somebody is responsible for ruining the day for more than 30 people from both teams.

 

I would like the winner to actually step forward, admit his folly, and send me a photo so I can publish it worldwide. Or was this a collective decision? Was this a case of 'groupthink' like the Kennedy administration suffered from during the Bay of Pigs fiasco with the good idea to invade Cuba with volunteer militias and with no air or sea support? Or was Dopey the Dwarf at the helm again?

 

Man, I would be embarrassed to pull that stunt on anybody in the JIFL unless it is the practical joke of the season. In fact, it is so ridiculous that I reckon that Deutschland is just flexing it's superb sense of humor on the Lions. That must be the case.... don't you think? Surely, you can't be serious in trying to take the coward's way out and try to claim a victory without actually playing the match?

Oh, wait... what was that you said? You want to argue and try to claim it? Alright then bring it to the League meeting in early January and state your case. See if anybody is sympathetic to the argument. At least we will all know who you are and we will know whom to avoid in the future when we see you out at the pub.

 

Let's take one positive thing from this event. If German Plus is being serious about this then the Mighty Lions can at least take it as a compliment. In that case, obviously, at least one team in this league is scared shitless of playing against the Lions!

 

-----Original Message-----
From:
Dieter (German Plus team captain)
Sent: Tuesday, 13 December 2005 12:18
To: G+
Subject: RE: German plus - Lions 10 the deck. 2005
 

Dear league friends, 

What is the soup without salt or the league without Dale. Last Saturdays match seems to be not that easy as I predicted in my report. 

However, adding up all the facts it looks that not the Lions nor the Germans are to be blamed, but our good and beloved friend silent Dale, who is, if I am not mistaken, responsible for the league schedule ( take 3 points from the Wanderers).

As the captain of (what was the name of our club f....cking Germans, ohh no its) German Plus we of course agree on a rematch, if there is proof that some teams have a different league schedule (please check whether there is a game for some teams on Christmas eave?). 

Whish you all a pleasant day and don t forget to take your pills, you could possibly get a heart attack.  

Bye Dieter 

-----Original Message-----
From: Dale (league coordinator)
Sent
: Tuesday, 13 December 2005 08:29
To
: League Committee members
Subject
: Re: GERMAN PLUS - LIONS 

Okay, look everybody.  We can argue about 5 minutes here or 5 minutes there. 

Point is this: 

Matches were abandoned.  Period!  I have the head of the referees with the decision.  You would never have been able to finish that match had you started the match. 

Case closed. Time to re-schedule.

Thank you for your time and consideration...

Dale 

----- Original Message -----
From
: "Howie" (League Commissioner and German Plus member)
To
: League Committees members and team coordinators
Sent
: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 3:59
Subject
: GERMAN PLUS - LIONS

Gents,

thanks for your e-mails. For good order's sake, first to the facts:

Dale,

league rules state clearly that a match has to be forfeited 2-0 if the opponent is not able to show up with 8 or more players 15 minutes after the scheduled kick off time. The schedule on the homepage, at least the latest one of last Saturday indicated kick off time 16:00h. The Japan match was not abandoned at half time, but around 4:30h. There are currently only two people at German Plus who have to say something and the idea with the forfeit was definitely not mine. 

Andy,

at 4:00pm there was just one Lions-player at the field

at 4:15pm there were four Lions-players available

Thereafter one after the other arrived

At 4:15h the fields were indeed already flooded considerably, but it was not clear yet, whether we could play. Japan match was stopped around 4:30h

Back to the point I however agree with you. I will check availability of our players for next Wednesday. What time would be kick off?

As to your remarks to the league chairman:

Even in that function I have no capacity to overrule any team captain on his decisions. I believe you do not know what I discussed with our captain and therefore you just go on assumptions. Assumptions in my opinion are however not good enough for making statements like you did below. Cheers, Peter (German Plus) or league chairman

 ----- Original Message -----
From
: Alex (The Mighty Lions player)
Sent
: Monday, December 12, 2005 7:04 PM
To
: League members
Subject
: GERMAN PLUS - LIONS 

JUST SEND AN E-MAIL TO GEOFF HURST AND REMIND THE GERMANS ABOUT 1966 AND WHAT IS IN STORE FOR THEM AFTER 40 YEARS. 

WIN, LOSE OR DRAW - DO THE GERMANS KNOW HOW TO PARTICIPATE? 

DISGRACEFUL. THEY SHOULD BE DEDUCTED POINTS.

Alex. 

----- Original Message -----
From
: Ben (The Mighty Lions player)
Sent
: Monday, December 12, 2005 6:14 PM
To
: League members
Subject: GERMAN PLUS - LIONS 

What a load of bollocks. I will be at ISCI for the rematch on Wednesday. Ben

 ----- Original Message -----
From
: Andy (The Mighty Lions team manager)
Sent
: Monday, December 12, 2005 4:30 PM
To
: League members
Subject
: GERMAN PLUS - LIONS

DEAR DALE & HOWIE

HERE IS THE VIEW OF THE LIONS AND I WOULD LIKE THIS POSTED IN ITS ENTIRETY ON THE LEAGUE WEB PAGE. ............................................

UNDERHAND GERMANS OR WHAT??

ON SATURDAY THE LIONS TRUNDLED OUT TO SENTUL IN THE POURING RAIN TO PLAY THE GERMANS, THE MATCH WAS ARRANGED FOR A 4.10 PM KICK OFF, AS PER THE INITIAL LEAGUE SCHEDULE. THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE LIONS PLAYERS ARRIVED AT 4.10 AT WHICH TIME THEY FOUND THE RAIN STREAMING DOWN AND THE PITCH HALF FLOODED. IT WAS OBVIOUS THE MATCH WASNT GOING TO BE PLAYED. HOWEVER, THE LIONS TEAM DECIDED TO CHANGE INTO THEIR KIT, IN THE HOPE THAT THE GAME COULD BE SALVAGED. AT 4.15PM WE HEARD THAT, IN THE POURING RAIN AND LIGHTNING, THE GERMANS HAD WALKED ONTO THE PITCH, ASKED THE REF TO BLOW THE WHISTLE AND KICKED THE BALL ONCE, THUS CLAIMING A 2-0 FORFEIT. ALTHOUGH THEY WERE WELL AWARE THAT THE GAME WOULD BE CANCELLED. 

WHEN THE LIONS PLAYERS WENT DOWN TO THE PITCH, WHICH WAS NOW 80% UNDER WATER AND ADVISED THE GERMANS THAT THE GAME WAS A LATE KICK OFF, THE RESPONSE WAS "TOO BAD, WE'VE GOT THE POINTS".... 

THE OTHER GAME WAS CALLED OFF JUST 3 MINS LATER AND BOTH PITCHES WERE TOTALLY UNPLAYABLE.. 

ARE THE GERMANS THAT SCARED OF PLAYING THE LIONS OR DO THEY NEED THE POINTS SO DESPERATELY, THAT THEY HAVE TO TRY AND RESORT TO SUCH LOW AND UNSPORTSMANSHIP TACTICS??? 

WHATS EVEN MORE WORRYING IS THAT OUR LEAGUE CHAIRMAN, WHO IS ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT PLAYING GAMES IN A FRIENDLY & SPORTSMANSHIP MANNER IS PART OF THE GERMAN TEAM AND WAS INVOLVED IN THIS...  WHAT HOPE DOES THE LEAGUE HAVE???? HE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF HIMSELF.. 

LUCKILY, THIS HAS BACKFIRED ON THE GERMANS, AS IT HAS BEEN CONFIRMED THAT THE GAME WAS A 4.10PM KICK OFF AND THAT THE GERMANS BLEW TOO EARLY FOR THE FORFEIT.  POOR, POOR GUYS, THEY MUST BE SO DISAPPOINTED NOW...

 I CAN TELL YOU NOW THAT THE LIONS CANT WAIT FOR THE RESCHEDULED GAME, I AM SURE IT WILL BE VERY FRIENDLY.. .......................................................................

TKS
ANDY, LIONS

----- Original Message -----
From
: Dale (League coordinator)
Sent
: unknown
To
: League members
Subject
: GERMAN PLUS LIONS 

Actually, Howie...

the match was scheduled for 16:10 PM. It even says so in the original schedule as sent out to all league captains/managers. Then confirmed again by Kagami of Japan in e-mails to me which I have copies of... 

Also, league rules state officially (or unofficially by Phil) that a team has 20 minutes after the KO time to field their side and get the game on whether they have 11, 9, or 7 men before the other side can claim a forfeit. 

So, technically, the Lions had until 16:30 PM to get out on the dance floor and boogie. In addition to all of this... Kagami already informed me just after 4:00 PM that all the games were being called off because of the stormy weather. The Japan game was abandoned at half time which was just about the time that German Plus decided to pull a funny one on the Lions. Then, Pak Gatot, the head of the referees sent me a message to explain the refs get half payment since the game could not be played. 

My opinion about German Plus trying to get a forfeit is as follows: Not really in the spirit of the league and an embarrassment to the JIFL unless Germany were just showing that superb Deutsch humor by winding the Lions up with the practical joke of the season. I hope that that was the intention. 

So, Wednesday evening ISCI can be booked I assume to make the 'make-up' with the Lions. They are ready to do it then if you can get your side 

... and here internal G+ info on Sunday, 11 December 2005
Dear Dieter,

the SMS you probably received from Dale. There is other e-mail-correspondence flying around as expected, I have copied you in.

If you go by the dots of the rules, then you are probably correct, but
- there is obviously another schedule, which says kick off time was 16:10h and then your decision came too early
- the match would have been abandoned anyway

I have advised to the Lions and the committee that I am checking availability of our players for next Wednesday. In my opinion we should agree to the re-play in order not to destroy our good reputation. We do not need to take the points in such a way.

Even if I am chairman of the league in any dispute on this matter I would not be involved, because I am also member of German Plus.

Should you stick to your decision, then this case would go to the disciplinary committee and I believe your chances to get through with this, are very slim and limited. Please let me know urgently, however I hope I can say now already: German Plus players, please prepare yourself for the re-match on Wednesday.

Cheers, Howie

Ref.: Our last league game:
Hello Howie (Chairman of the league),

today I received a SMS (no name) , telling us, that if we dont agree on a rematch against the Lions coming Wednesday, the Lions would leave the league.

The league rules have not been designed by German Plus and we are just following them. And off the record, there was not even an apology, however one of the Lions called us f.g Germans.

Which makes it even more difficult to communicate, as you can imagine.

Whish you a pleasant day
Dieter

P.S. we want to stick to the league rules.

What had happened:
Official match report by Howie

As per league schedule this match was supposed to be played on 10 December at 4pm at Sentul. The referee team as well as a complete German Plus team were ready at that time, but there were no Lions! They arrived one by one and at 4:15 pm 4 Lions-players were available. The referee blew the whistle and immediately thereafter the final whistle again. The captain of the German Plus team claims this match should be forfeited 2-0 for German Plus.

  and some words by the captain

Yesterday we had our easiest game against the Lions. With all German Plus player and the 3 referees on the pitch everybody was waiting for the Lions, but there only 3 of them had shown up.

After 10 minutes of waiting the referee blow his whistle once for starting the game and blew is again to finish the game. I guess that was the shortest game we played.

German plus players present:
Goalie: Mulyono
Back: Marius, Herman, Ian, Ingo, Harry, Ardi
Midfield: Markus, Mathias, Salomon, Andre, Tobias
Front: Irfan, Alexander

After the game, we had some German sausages at Dieters place. That was our last league game this year.

----------------------------------- end of story -----------------------------------