Jakarta (ANTARA) - Chairperson of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) Erick Thohir stated that FIFA's support for his leadership dispels any notion that the government is intervening in the national football federation.

Thohir noted that following his election as PSSI chairperson for the 2023-2027 term last week, he had received a letter from FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who congratulated and conveyed support for him.

"If (the government) intervention (is occurring), I believe that after my selection, FIFA will promptly ban (us), but I received a (support) letter anyway. In the letter, the FIFA President personally (conveyed) amazing statements that I believe, PSSI Exco members never receive. (The FIFA President) personally supports us," the chairperson stated during the press conference at the Presidential Palace Complex here, Monday.

He said that FIFA has a moral affinity and commitment to improving global football, including in Indonesia through PSSI.

Thohir affirmed that his selection, as PSSI chairperson, despite his current tenure as the state-owned enterprises minister also demonstrated the government's support for national football.

"Intervention means that the government imposed its demand (on the organization), for instance, by instructing that all (members) must be representatives of the government or forcing the organization despite violating the statutes, no. This is a collaboration between communities and us, who love sports," he expounded.

Thohir has a long-standing tenure in national and international sports, starting from serving as the director of finance of Persija Jakarta in 2000 and deputy chief commissioner of Persib Bandung operator PT Persib Bandung Bermartabat from 2009 to 2019.

He served as chairman of the Italian football club Inter Milan from 2013 to 2018 and is currently a stakeholder in Persis Solo since 2021.

Thohir was elected as PSSI chairperson at the PSSI Extraordinary Congress on Feb 16 after securing 64 votes, soundly defeating the runner-up, Speaker of the Regional Representative Council (DPD RI) La Nyalla Mattalitti, who managed to secure only 22 votes. Two other chairperson candidates -- Arif Wicaksono and Doni Setiabudi -- bagged no votes.

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Translator: Mentari Dwi G, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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