Indonesia's Last Attempts To Be The U-20 World Cup Host

Aulia Hafisa
President Jokowi statement about the rejection of the Israeli national team through a video uploaded by the Presidential Secretariat YouTube
President Jokowi statement about the rejection of the Israeli national team through a video uploaded by the Presidential Secretariat YouTube - Erick Tohir, Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) Chairman flew to the headquarter of FIFA in Zurich on Tuesday evening to negotiate with the world football association as the nation in the brink of losing its rights to host the U-20 FIFA World Cup due to a massive protest opposing Israel's participation.

The negotiation was made on the order of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who found himself in a difficult position after his own party rejected any match involving Israel in Indonesia

In his statement, the president reiterated that politics and sports simply don't mix. To win back support for the country's first-ever FIFA tournament, the president also pointed out that the ambassador of Palestine to Indonesia even understand that FIFA has rules every member must obey. 

Israel’s participation in the tournament has nothing to do with the consistency of Indonesia’s foreign policy towards the State of Palestine because our support for the State of Palestine is always firm. And concerning the U-20 World Cup, we share the opinion by the Palestinian ambassador to Indonesia that FIFA has its regulations every member must obey,” Jokowi said in a video message streamed via the YouTube account of the Presidential Secretariat. 

"So please don’t mix sports and politics. FIFA has already learned about opposition to Israel’s participation in the U-20 World Cup, but the government and the PSSI are still making efforts to get the best solution," he added.

His statement came after FIFA canceled the group drawing event scheduled in Bali on March 31st. The cancellation followed a massive protest opposing Israel's participation in the Indonesian world cup. 

Some of the Indonesian governors and fellow politicians of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party (PDIP) have voiced opposition to the tournament if Israel is allowed to participate. 

Jokowi reminded the public that Indonesia has gone through a tough bidding process to become the host of the prestigious tournament, FIFA World Cup for the first time, winning over Peru and Brazil in the final stage.

"All elements in the country have worked hard to make sure that Indonesia can become the host of the U-20 World Cup and in October 2019 we finally won the FIFA appointment," Jokowi said.

"This is a big honor to Indonesia as we won the trust to host the U-20 World Cup, to manage a sporting event which has the biggest number of fans in the world.” 

Hoping for the best solution

Speaking separately before his Zurich flight, Erick said he was hoping that the meeting with FIFA executives will produce the best solution.

“I’m departing to the FIFA headquarters tonight to discuss the best [solution] although we know the decision won’t be able to please all of us," Erick told reporters in Jakarta.

"But at least we must find a solution and as a fan of the sport I know that it unites people but sometimes it’s used as political tools,” he added.

Tag # u20 world cup # world cup # israel # indonesia # israel indonesia # fifa u20 world cup cancel # fifa # u20 world cup draw cancel # palestine # indonesia support palestine

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