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Indonesia can now count itself as part of Asia’s invasion of English football, after Championship League side Leicester City announced that Iman Arif has a minor stake in the club. Leicester City was bought by Asia Football Investments, headed by Thai businessman Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn, in August reportedly for 40 million pounds ($63.8 million). But English media reported that a second investor accounted for 20 percent of the cost, or an estimated 8 million pounds, to purchase the team. A few days later, Leicester City officials revealed that it was Iman’s Cronus Sports Management Pte Ltd that had acquired a minor stake in the club. Iman, the deputy chairman of technical affairs at the National Team Body (BTN), confirmed his ownership status on Monday. “I can say now that Cronus is a shareholder [at Leicester City],” he told the Jakarta Globe. “When I applied for a license [in 2007] to operate the Arsenal Soccer School here in Indonesia, it took us about six months. We also had to meet [Leicester City’s] requirements. We needed to have a clean record. We are in good standing with FIFA and the football community. Everyone is treated equally there.” Iman is the director of finance at Bumi Resources Tbk, an energy and mining firm owned and operated by the Bakrie clan. But it is his work last year with the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) that has made him a prominent figure in the national sports scene. Iman was appointed BTN chief in July 2010, and during his term he was able to carry out radical programs that helped to strengthen and attract interest in the Indonesia national football team. He pushed for the naturalization program that had the association searching for European talent that could play for Indonesia. He also made it possible to arrange for a series of international friendlies, the biggest one being the Uruguay match in October 2010. But Iman’s programs apparently did not sit well with some officials at PSSI, and last month he was removed from his post and relegated to his current position at BTN. Iman’s interest in Leicester City appeared to have begun earlier this year when he appointed Kevin Kent, a former Leicester academy director, as PSSI’s Indonesia Football Academy director. Last month, he also hinted that IFA’s best students would be sent to Leicester for tryouts starting next year. Leicester currently sits at 17th on the Championship table. Due to this ownership, four young Indonesian Footballer who study at Indonesia Football Academy are going to be sent to Leicester City Academy to practice there. Moch Fahmi Al Ayyubi, Rico Andriyanta, Maldini Pali and Yogi Rahadian will be going to England in the middle of February. Iman said that this program is like an exchange student program. all of the Indonesian students will be living with foster parents. News Sources : The Jakarta Globe, Tempo Interaktif Photo Source : jessonwragg.com
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