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During the European summer break, many of Europe’s top clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid and AS Roma travel to Asia for friendly matches and smaller tournaments to prepare for the new season. These footballing giants choose Asian countries for the summer break because of the huge number of fans they have over there.
Two years ago we wrote about Indonesians who decided to support Liverpool over their local team at a friendly match. Last weekend the same happened again, when AS Roma played their first match ever in Indonesia.
Already at the airport, a huge group of AS Roma supporters welcomed their players from Italy. Outside the players hotel, even more people gathered to light flares and sing chants, and they followed this up at the match. Displaying tifos and some incredible pyrotechnics, the Indonesian fans turned out in their thousands.
The Indonesian supporters undoubtedly created a stunning atmosphere, but the point of debate is that they’ve chosen to support AS Roma from Italy over their own local Indonesian team.
“Support your local team” is a famous expression used by European ultras – a guiding principle is that people should support the club they have connections to, most likely from the same city they are born in or live in. The main idea is to be proud of your city and your team.
In the last couple of years, football has become more and more popular in Asian countries, and Indonesia is a very good example of this. In the past, we’ve published several articles showing the great local support, for example with PSS Sleman. The examples of fans who are proud of their local team seem to be diminishing.
As a result, it’s now more popular to support European teams in Asia. This could be seen as one of the drawbacks of “Modern football”, and one which goes against the ultras ideology. This is also one reason local fans in England, for example, can’t effort to attend their own games. With increasing frequency, travelling tourists from all over the world buy up tickets for home games as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Manchester United is probably the clearest example of this, with local home fans missing out due to the large number of tickets going to tourists.