Jakarta. Erick Thohir, an Indonesian billionaire-turned state-owned enterprises minister, has made a return to football this week with shocking take-over moves that place him as part-owner of English and Indonesian professional football clubs.
Erick Thohir joined fellow billionaire Anindya Bakrie in a consortium that has bought shares owned by Thai businessman Sumrith "Tiger" Thanakarnjanasuth in the Oxford United FC, thus controlling 51 percent shares of the 126-year-old club, according to reports from local media oxfordmail.co.uk and telegraph.co.uk on Friday.
The purchase is subject to the English Football League approval, which will evaluate the consortium's business plan to be submitted next week.
The minister had apparently made another deal 12,171 kilometers from Oxford.
Persis Solo Saestu, the company behind Indonesian professional football club Persis, announced on Saturday that it had appointed Mahendra Agakhan Thohir, son of Erick Thohir as its president commissioner, in an extraordinary general shareholder meeting in Solo.
Kaesang Pangarep, the youngest son of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, was also appointed as the president director at the meeting.
The company called for the extraordinary general shareholder meeting after Kaesang and Erick completed their purchase of 40 percent and 20 percent shares, respectively, in Persis.
Commenting on his return, Erick said that he "misses football!"
Previously, Erick had owned Italian champions Inter Milan, Washington-based DC United, Australian football club Brisbane Roar, and a Belgian club CS Vise. In Indonesia, Erick used to involve in Persib Bandung, an Indonesian top-tier professional football club in West Java. He left the club shortly after he was appointed a minister in 2019.
"Actually, what I will do at Persis Solo and Oxford, is not much different. Improve management, regenerate, make both of them better. It's not an easy thing, but nothing is impossible," Erick said.
“Especially for Solo and Aga, Aga wants to follow in the footsteps of my father who started the struggle from Solo. Solo was my father's first city to fight apart from the family for school," he said.
In a tweet below, Erick showed a photograph of Kaesang and him posing in Persis jersey.