Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi (right) apologized to his Malaysian counterpart Syed Saddiq on Friday. (Photo from BeritaSatu TV)

Indonesia Apologizes to Malaysia for World Cup Qualifier Dust-Up


SEPTEMBER 06, 2019

Jakarta. Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nachrawi officially apologized to his Malaysian counterpart Syed Saddiq on Friday after fans of the Indonesian national men's football team attacked Malaysian supporters during a World Cup qualifier match in Jakarta on Thursday.

Indonesia lost the game to Malaysia 2-3. The match at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium was stopped temporarily during the second half after some Indonesian fans threw objects at the Malaysian supporters.

The Malaysian fans were kept at the stadium for a few hours before being escorted out early on Friday morning.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) said it was disappointed by the incident, claiming the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) had failed to control the behavior of the Indonesian fans.

"We are gathering evidence and will report yesterday's incident to FIFA [Federation of International Football Association, the sport's world governing body] and the AFC [Asian Football Confederation]," FAM secretary general Stuart Ramalingam said in a statement on Friday.

During a meeting between the two sports ministers in Jakarta on Friday, Imam said he hoped Malaysia will not report the incident to FIFA or the AFC.

"I apologize on behalf of the people and the government of Indonesia for the unpleasant incident we witnessed last night, which was caused by the action of a few individuals," Imam told his Malaysian counterpart Saddiq.

"Football should continue to unite all of us. The deep friendship between Indonesia and Malaysia should not be ruined by this incident," he said.

Imam urged the Indonesian police to take legal action to punish the football rioters.

Saddiq responded by saying Indonesian law enforcers should take firm action against the individuals responsible for yesterday's attack. 

"I can assure you that Malaysia and Indonesia will always be close. We are allies… however, firm action [to punish the rioters] has to be taken," Saddiq said.

The Indonesian National Team Supporters Community (PSTI) has also apologized for the incident. 

"We sincerely apologize to the Malaysian supporters, especially those who had been hurt by the action of our fans… [and also] to the people of Indonesia for the shameful incident," PSTI chairman Ignatius Indro said in a statement on Friday.