Indonesia's new football association committee vows to overhaul ecosystem of the sport
The new committee is headed by Minister of State-owned Enterprises Erick Thohir.
JAKARTA: Indonesia’s new football association committee pledged on Monday (Feb 20) to overhaul the ecosystem of the sport, just months after the country suffered from one of the world’s deadliest stadium stampedes.
The new head of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) Erick Thohir and fellow members met President Joko Widodo on Monday for the first time after they were elected last Thursday.
Mr Thohir, who is also the minister of state-owned enterprises, said the government is ready to support the committee in transforming the country’s football scene which has been marred by violent supporters, match-fixing, poor stadiums and infrastructure problems.
“We will have a blueprint for medium-term and long-term and this is our commitment,” said Mr Thohir.
“God willing, we will prove that with the new management, we can work as well as possible.”
He also said that they will develop training camps to nurture talent and build football fields for international tournaments.
Indonesia is set to host FIFA’s U-20 World Cup, the biennial international men’s youth football championship, in May and June.
Mr Thohir, who once owned football clubs Inter Milan and DC United, added that the government also supports PSSI’s efforts to eradicate match-fixing in Indonesia.
“The police chief yesterday said that they have formed a task force to deal with football mafias,” he said.
The PSSI came under fire in October last year when 135 people were killed in a stadium stampede in Malang, East Java.
On the deadly day, police fired teargas into a full stadium after supporters invaded the pitch following the loss of Malang’s home team Arema FC against rival Persebaya Surabaya.
The disaster highlighted Indonesia’s decades-old problem of football supporters' deaths, one of the worst in the world.
Five people, including three police officials, one security officer and a match organiser, are currently on trial with a verdict expected soon.