Drawing of U-20 World Cup in Indonesia Suspended

Jakarta, MINA – Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) Executive Committee member Arya Sinulingga described the current situation after FIFA canceled the 2023 U-20 World Cup draw in Bali on March 31, 2023.

In a press conference held on Sunday afternoon, Arya, who is also Chairman of the PSSI Media Committee, revealed that the situation regarding Indonesia’s status as host cannot be predicted.

“Yesterday, we received information from FIFA to the LOC (Local Committee), in the notification, there has been no official letter but it is clear that the draw for the U-20 World Cup has been canceled by FIFA. The decision comes from them. Indeed, we have not received an official letter from FIFA, but the message is clear that it is cancelled,” said Arya in a written statement received by MINA on Sunday.

He said that his party understands that because of the refusal of the Governor of Bali who refused Israel’s arrival where they were not allowed to take part in the drawing, this might become the basis for the decision to cancel the drawing.

According to Arya, the letter from the Governor of Bali, I Wayan Koster to the Menpora, which was widely circulated, seems to have become the basis for FIFA’s decision.

“The Governor of Bali has signed a government guarantee, agreed when Indonesia was appointed as the host of the U-20 World Cup, and now they have refused. It’s only natural that FIFA finally decided to cancel the drawing there,” he said.

Currently, PSSI and LOC cannot predict Indonesia’s status as the host, considering that FIFA has not yet written a letter after announcing the cancellation of the draw on Saturday morning.

“Then regarding when and where to draw, we have not received information from FIFA. Currently, we are thinking about how Indonesia, especially football, is not isolated in a football ecosystem. We know that it is very difficult to separate politics and sports. We want sports to remain in the context of sports,” he added.

Arya said the general chairman of PSSI, who is also chairman of the LOC, Erick Thohir, is consolidating with the government.

“Mr. Erick Thohir is coordinating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the person in charge of diplomacy and the Ministry of Youth and Sports under the umbrella of INAFOC as the event organizer. Likewise, he will report to the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, these processes and find the best solution to save Indonesian football, which we love,” said Arya.

He hopes and begs Indonesian football lovers who want football to progress to remain calm. “We are trying to find a solution and talk to FIFA in the near future. Because of our worries, we are ostracized in the world football ecosystem,” said Arya, who is also the Special Staff for the Minister of BUMN.

PSSI did not dare to speculate about Indonesia’s status as host, after the draw was cancelled. “We don’t dare to talk about percentages because the cancellation of this draw is a setback or something. The group assignment has changed. We don’t know what the current condition is. Of course, Pak Erick will approach FIFA with diplomacy,” he added.

Arya also stressed that it was impossible for PSSI or LOC to apply to FIFA for Israel to compete in Singapore to maintain a conducive domestic political situation.

“The problem is that from the start there was only one country submitting as the host. So, it must be rejected if Indonesia proposes Singapore as a venue for Israel. The Singapore connection process will be long. We have to lobby the Singapore government. If you want to do this, it should be done from the start, bidding involves two countries, not in the middle or at the end,” he said.

Regarding the potential for sanctions, PSSI does not want to speculate.

“Indonesia has experienced this in 2015. The impact was huge, the Indonesian national team could not compete on the international stage, our competition, which should be affiliated with the international world, stopped. One of the things that caused Indonesia to drop in the ranking was because of the ban from FIFA. We certainly don’t want that to happen again. All options will be carried out by Mr. Erick to lobby to avoid sanctions,” said Arya.

PSSI is also in a confused position with the emergence of Israel’s many rejections just two months ahead of the U-20 World Cup.

Seeing the history of Israel’s refusal to Indonesia, it cannot be separated from the solidarity relationship with Palestine whose territory was colonized by the Zionist state. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)