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CNA Explains: How Indonesia misplaced its U-20 World Cup host standing and what it means for the native soccer scene

JAKARTA: In a last-ditch try to retain the nation’s proper to host the U-20 World Cup, Indonesian Soccer Affiliation (PSSI) chairman Erick Thohir flew to Qatar on Wednesday (Mar 29) to fulfill with Gianni Infantino, the president of the game’s governing physique FIFA.

Regardless of Mr Thohir’s lobbying efforts and a private letter from Indonesian President Joko Widodo stating the nation’s readiness to host the event, FIFA introduced that it has determined to strip Indonesia of its U-20 World Cup host standing, lower than two months earlier than the event was purported to kick off.

“A brand new host will likely be introduced as quickly as doable, with the dates of the event presently remaining unchanged,” the soccer physique mentioned in an announcement launched shortly after Mr Infantino’s assembly with Mr Thohir.

The world soccer physique had earlier expressed concern about Indonesia’s capability to host the occasion, cancelling on the final minute the event’s group draw occasion which was initially scheduled to happen on Friday on the favored resort island of Bali.

FIFA didn’t specify the rationale for its resolution to disallow Indonesia from internet hosting the U-20 World Cup, stating solely that it was “as a result of present circumstances.”

This gave the impression to be a reference to rising calls within the Muslim-majority nation for the Israeli workforce to be excluded from the event. Amongst these calling for the ban have been two governors who hail from the identical political social gathering because the Indonesian president.

Many Indonesians took to social media to specific their anger and frustration, not at FIFA, however on the politicians deemed answerable for the debacle.

“Who is aware of what sacrifices we have now made for this nation, for this occasion. It’s gone in a blink of an eye fixed due to your political motives,” Marselino Ferdinan, a midfielder within the Indonesian U-20 squad, wrote on his Instagram account.

The choice meant that hundreds of thousands of {dollars} spent to refurbish six stadiums chosen because the cup’s venue and years of preparation to host Indonesia’s first FIFA event went down the drain.

It additionally meant that the Indonesian squad is not going to be taking part in its first ever U-20 World Cup, since a spot within the event is reserved for the host nation.

Including insult to harm, FIFA mentioned “potential sanctions towards the PSSI may additionally be determined at a later stage.”


Indonesia was awarded U-20 World Cup host standing in 2019, defeating bids from Brazil and Peru. At the moment, the event was purported to be held in 2021 however the COVID-19 pandemic compelled the occasion to be postponed till this 12 months.

Indonesia quickly set to work to organise the event, refurbishing six stadiums within the cities of Jakarta, Bandung, Solo, Surabaya, Palembang and Bali to fulfill FIFA requirements.

The Indonesian ministry for public works mentioned that it has to this point spent 322 billion rupiah (US$21.four million) to renovate the stadiums in addition to different pitches the place groups would have held follow periods.

Indonesians have been excited to play host to a serious worldwide soccer event for the primary time in historical past. Nevertheless, criticisms in the direction of Indonesia internet hosting the U-20 World Cup started to floor final 12 months when Israel certified for the event.

The Muslim-majority nation doesn’t have a proper diplomatic relationship with Israel as an indication of solidarity in the direction of Palestine.

Various small demonstrations towards Israel’s participation on this 12 months’s event started to emerge, significantly in a few of the cities taking part in host to the occasion. These demonstrations intensified because the event drew nearer.

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