Why is the Indonesia Super League so incredibly uncompetitive?

I was at the gym the other day, flicking through one of the sports tabloids, and then I came across the page on Indonesian football. And without really thinking about it, more by second nature than anything else, I started to study the Indonesia Super League table.

I’ve always had a thing with stats and numbers and a close analysis of stats like this can help identify certain probabilities that may be useful in football gambling strategies. But after a while it struck me that there was something strange. Something very strange indeed…

Okay here’s the background first.

Basically, everyone knows that there are three possible outcomes of a football fixture – home win, draw or away win.

And home wins are much more likely than away wins. There are a number of reasons why this is so – psychological; having the crowd behind you, whatever – but basically it’s simply referred to as “home advantage”.

But how big is “home advantage”?

Well this is when it gets interesting.

Because no matter what leagues you look at – Italian, English, Argentinean whatever - “home advantage” in football is pretty much the same in statistical terms.

And the magic distribution?

Well its 47% 28% 25%

What this simply means is that in the long run 47% of games in a league will end in home wins, 28% in draws and 25% in away wins.

Of course there is some margin of error – but the more games you look at the closer you will get to this distribution of results.

To see for yourself, you can look at the stats from some of the leagues here.

I ran through a few leagues myself.

In the 2006-2007 English Premiership, for example, there were 182 home wins, 98 draws, and 100 away wins. That’s a distribution of 48% home wins, 26% draws, and 26% away wins.

And in the 2006-2007 Italian league there were 173 home wins, 114 draws, and 93 away wins. That’s a distribution of 45% home wins, 30% draws, and 25% away wins.

Okay – so it’s pretty obvious what’s coming next isn’t it?

The stats of the Indonesia Super League so far this year (as of 20 March 2011) with 118 matches played?

84 home wins, 21 draws and just 13 away wins!!!!!!!!

Giving a distribution of 71% home wins, 18% draws, and 11% away wins!!!!!!!!

Indonesia Super League Klasemen

What the hell is going on!! Only 13 away wins in 118 games? You must be kidding me! Why would any supporter in Indonesia want to travel to an away game knowing there are "mysterious forces" working against their team?

Closer inspection of the league table reveals the following:

- Only one club in the whole league has won more than three away matches!

- 10 of the 15 clubs have NEVER lost at home!

- Excluding the bottom two clubs, none of the other clubs have lost more than once at home!

- Semen Padang in second place have never lost at home, but never won away!

- Persiwa in fourth place have never lost at home, but never won away!

- Deltras in 8th place have never lost at home, but never won away!

- Persijab (third from bottom) have never lost at home, but lost ALL their 10 away matches!

So what can explain why the Indonesian Super League is so incredibly uncompetitive? Is there something very wrong going on and shouldn’t someone be responsible?


NB: It’s not very easy to find stats of the Indonesian Super League with a breakdown of the away and home games. Such a breakdown is rather conspicuously missing from all the websites I’ve ever visited. About the only place you can see them are in the BOLA daily sports newspaper.


  1. I agree with all those statistics. Indonesian Super League is not a competition. It's all about a "game", about conspiracy.

    That's why I rarely watch them. It's so easy to find those minor facts.

  2. And below is the statistics for the Indonesian "Breakaway" Premiere League (LPI)so far:

    "40 home wins, 25 draws, and 22 away wins. Thus the distribution would be 45.97% home wins, 28.74% draws, and 25.29% away wins."

    Strangely, almost 100% complies to the universal "47% 28% 25%" rules.

    Statistically, thus, I have to agree with the LPI and that it's hopeless for the current ISL. Let's just start all over.

    Source: http://www.futbol24.com/national/Indonesia/Liga-Primer-Indonesia/2011/statistics/

  3. very interesting analysis,
    could you please analyse the LPI please?

  4. Hmmm... For Semen Padang, you forgot to write some additional information. Semen Padang actually won 2 of its away games, against PSM (0-1,goal by Saktiawan Sinaga) and Persema (2-3, goals by Elie Aiboy and Edward Wilson Jr (2 goals)). Unfortunately, PSM and Persema joined LPI, that's why the record is deleted :)
    FYI, I'm a fans of Semen Padang FC.

  5. Every people in Indonesia has known that ISL is created and ran by MAFIA. The competition is dead but they never realized that. They are walking dead!

  6. Wow, this is a great statistical analysis .. very interesting indeed!

  7. damn true, good analitical mate

  8. Good analysis. Regarding your last note, try going here:
    It's clear there are home & away stats there.

  9. I would have never looked at this way. You bring a new perspective but I would say its uncompetitive. Maybe they need to just change up where teams play and how often.

  10. yes i agree with ur opinion n ISL it's weird that there is a superior club on home but on away very dissapointed......

  11. Joey, Amsterdam10 April 2011 at 18:52

    Excellent analysis. It's another reason why the ISL is not interesting anymore. It really isn't only about the quality of football. What makes people come to matches is tension, suspense, excitement. Knowing beforehand that the home club has a 71% chance of winning is certainly now worth travelling for to support the 'away team'. The IPL rocks. We have seen a lot of close matches, we have seen the absolute favourites lose to much lesser squads and there are many players from foreign countries who really add something special to the league.

  12. Damn Right. You just won 1000 internets sir. The whole system is crap. However we now have LPI, a dim light in such darkness. Years ago, there was Galatama, pretty promising league to be fair, but then there came assholes, which wasn't a surprise in this assholes invested country. So we're all just gonna watch LPI until it goes bad just like ISL. But that's one nice analysis.

  13. You're so right! ISL is so uncompetitive, but LPI is way worse, because there are no real local talents there compared to ISL. The only local talents they have are naturalized Indonesians, who can't even speak Bahasa!

  14. LOL the reason why you can always win at home is because the referee don't want to be bullied by the local supporters so they just give the win by home team.

  15. no, LPI is more uncompetitive... there no degradation, and all of its club is founded by 1 man, arifin panigoro

  16. anon: more uncompetitive than the ISL? I doubt it.

  17. Right mate.. contestants ISL if doing away games in the AFC Champions League is always defeated ex. Jeonbuk-Arema :6-0

  18. Estos indonesios están en todos sitios. Anda que no se notan los que usan el Google Translate! XD
    Yo he sido jugador de la ISL y puedo asegurar que las estadisticas son más que ciertas.
    Enhorabuena por el estudio.


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