Whistleblower injured in hit-and-run after exposing match-fixing in Indonesian soccer

A soccer match between Gresik Putra Paranane against NZR Sumbersari (in blue jersey) at Gajayana Stadium in Malang on Nov. 12, 2021. Photo: Asprov PSSI Jatim
A soccer match between Gresik Putra Paranane against NZR Sumbersari (in blue jersey) at Gajayana Stadium in Malang on Nov. 12, 2021. Photo: Asprov PSSI Jatim

The whistleblower who exposed alleged match-fixing in lower-tier soccer matches in East Java was injured in a hit-and-run incident yesterday evening. 

Zha Eka Wulandari, the treasurer of Gresik Putra Paranane football club, and her husband Awaluddin were heading home from a minimarket near their home in Dau district, East Java’s Malang regency, when the incident occurred. 

After topping up their e-toll card at the minimarket ahead of a trip to the East Java Police HQ in Surabaya ⁠— where Zha was initially scheduled for a police questioning this morning ⁠— the couple was reportedly followed by at least two motorcycles, one of them being a Yamaha Vixion. 

“When we were at a dark road curve, the Vixion with two people on it overtook my motorcycle and the driver mockingly laughed in our direction. After that, the motorcycle behind us crashed into us. I don’t remember exactly what happened. But it felt like someone kicked us too,” Awaluddin said.

The incident occurred at around 7pm, and as a result of the collision, Awaluddin and Zha were bounced onto the paved road. Zha reportedly suffered quite serious injuries to her face, legs, and arms with two of her teeth broken. Meanwhile, Awaluddin has sustained bruises on his face, knees, shoulders, and arms. They received medical treatment from the nearest hospital for their injuries.

Due to her injuries, Zha couldn’t fulfill the police summon this morning, which has been delayed until she recovers. Despite having become victims of a hit-and-run, the couple are yet to file a police report.

Zha’s identity as the whistleblower had been known prior to the incident, as she previously appeared in media reports and interviews. The treasurer was the main source of information for allegations of match-fixing in the East Java division of the nation’s Liga 3 competition, and had filed her match-fixing report to the provincial chapter of Indonesia’s Football Association (PSSI). 

According to her, matches between Gresik Putra Paranane ⁠— which is based in Malang instead of Gresik despite the name ⁠— against NZR Sumbersari and Persema Malang on Nov. 12 and 15, respectively, had been compromised as the Gresik players had been bribed to throw away the matches. Indeed, Gresik did lose 0-1 to NZR and 1-5 to Persema.

In the Indonesian football league system, Liga 3 is the lowest tier and the competition consists of two rounds, namely provincial qualification and the national round.

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