February 16 – Erick Thohir, a senior cabinet minister and a former chairman of Inter Milan, is the new head of Indonesian football with the task of totally reforming the game months after the country suffered one of the world’s deadliest stadium stampedes.
The October disaster at the Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java, killed 135 people and prompted widespread concerns about safety standards. An investigation concluded excessive and indiscriminate tear gas use was the main cause.
Indonesian soccer has been blighted by match-fixing scandals and crowd trouble and Thohir, who has been Indonesia’s state-owned enterprises minister since 2019, will be tasked with working with FIFA to ensure smooth hosting of the Under-20 World Cup in May.
“We need to ensure our sport is clean and triumphant,” said Thorir (pictured), who was Inter’s majority owner is currently joint majority shareholder in English third-tier side Oxford United.
After the announcement, local media quoted President Joko Widodo as saying he hoped the new PSSI chief would “totally reform” Indonesian soccer.
Thohir’s appointment could prompt concerns about possible conflicts of interests given his cabinet role.
Indonesia has a track record of run-ins with FIFA over government interference including a year-long suspension in 2015.
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com