Indonesian VP calls for sport to work with business

Indonesia's Vice President Jusuf Kalla has urged sports stakeholders to learn from Iraq's inspiring performance at the Asian Cup. "Iraq taught us a valuable lesson last night. They were able to win the Asian Cup despite the misery they suffer back home. It could only happen because of their love of the game and their fighting spirit," he said when opening a hastily organised National Sports Council (KONI) extraordinary national meeting in Jakarta to discuss internal statutes.

Kalla referred to Iraq's historic 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the Asian Cup final. "We must have such a fighting spirit within ourselves to improve our achievements ... We must be confident that we can make a difference by holding all the aces we have," he said wihout specifically pin-pointing the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI)

Kalla also highlighted the importance of professionalism in reviving the country's ailing sports system. "We had relied too much on state funds to run sporting events in the past because most chiefs of sports organisations are government officials or generals. It must change now. We have to be more professional in developing sports to attract sponsors who will fund sporting events." He said big companies would sponsor sports events only if they were sure that their money would be managed professionally and they knew what they would get in return from the sponsorship deals. It's the time to run sports as a business."