Indonesia gets FIFA axe on hosting soccer show


Indonesia loses hosting rights for FIFA U-20 WC 2023 Image: FIFA

Following the meeting between the FIFA President Gianni Infantino and President of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) Erick Thohir on March 29th, the FIFA has decided, due to the current circumstances (read the Bali Governor refusing to host the Israeli team), to remove Indonesia as the host of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023™.

‘FIFA’ stated that a new host will be announced as soon as possible, with the dates of the tournament currently remaining unchanged. Potential sanctions against the PSSI may also be decided at a later stage.

Zürich (Switzerland)-based the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is the international governing body of association football, beach soccer and futsal. It was founded in 1904 to oversee international competition among the national associations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Central Jakarta (Indonesia)-based the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) is the governing body of football in Indonesia. It was founded on April 19th, 1930, 15 years before the Indonesian independence. The PSSI joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in 1954 and FIFA in 1952.

Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)-based the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of association football, beach football and futsal in some countries/territories in Asia and Oceania. It has 47 member-countries most of which are located in Asia. Australia, formerly in the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), joined the AFC in 2006.

The 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup™ will be the 23rd edition of the FIFA U-20 World Cup™, the biennial international men’s youth football championship contested by the under-20 national teams of the member-associations of FIFA, since its inception in 1977 as the FIFA World Youth Championship. It is scheduled to be held from May 20th-June 11th, 2023.

‘FIFA’ further stated that FIFA would like to underline that despite the above decision, it remains committed to actively assisting the PSSI, in close cooperation and with the support of the Government of Indonesia President Joko Widodo, in the transformation process of Indonesian football following the tragedy that occurred in October 2022. Members of the FIFA team will continue to be present in Indonesia in the coming months and will provide the required assistance to the PSSI, under the leadership of President Thohir.

A new meeting between the FIFA President and the PSSI President for further discussions will be scheduled shortly.

A stampede at the 42,449-capacity Kanjuruhan Stadium in Indonesia in October last year killed 135 people – including more than 40 children – and injured more than 320 after police used tear gas to quell a pitch invasion in one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.

Israel Issue

‘The Indian Express’ stated that FIFA took the above decision after Indonesia’s football federation (PSSI) said it had canceled the draw because Bali’s Governor I Wayan Koster refused to host Israel’s team.

Indonesia does not have formal ties with Israel and has long been a supporter of the two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Protesters marched in Jakarta this month demanding Israel not be allowed to participate in the tournament.

‘The Indian Express’ further stated that the head of an Indonesian fans’ association, Ignatius Indro, said the PSSI and the Government should ensure politics did not interfere in football. The loss of hosting rights was a “failure” for the Southeast Asian country, he said.

The PSSI said losing hosting rights would harm the national side’s chance of taking part in other FIFA tournaments, and the economic losses would amount to millions of dollars.

As hosts, Indonesia had automatically qualified for the tournament but FIFA’s decision means the players will no longer get to play, said the team’s assistant coach Nova Arianto.

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