By not being able to do one of FIFA's agendas, Indonesia has essentially violated the agreement with the world football organization
M IKHSAN MAHAR
·5 menit baca
JAKARTA, KOMPAS – The fate of the 2023 U-20 World Cup in Indonesia hangs in the balance. As host of this world-class sporting event, Indonesia has been deemed to have violated its commitment with FIFA to ensure each agenda of the tournament runs smoothly, including the group stage draw.
FIFA notified the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) on Saturday (25/3/2023) that the group stage draw, which was supposed to take place on Friday (31/3) in Denpasar, Bali, was canceled because Bali Governor I Wayan Koster was reluctant to allow the event to take place.
FIFA had waited for the Bali administration’s approval until last Friday (24/3/2023). However, the Bali administration did not issue a permit by then. As a result, FIFA informed the PSSI, as the local organizing committee for the 2023 U-20 World Cup and Emtek Group, the owners of the broadcasting rights, that the draw was canceled.
PSSI executive committee (Exco) member Arya Mahendra Sinulingga said the association understood FIFA’s decision. The PSSI too had maintained communication with the local administration to prevent the cancellation. However, he argued, the Bali administration’s rejection was a matter of politics.
“When we volunteered to host [the tournament], we agreed to commit to organizing it and taking care of the participants. By not being able to do [one of the agendas], we have essentially violated our agreement with FIFA,” said Arya in a press conference in Jakarta on Sunday (26/3).
The cancellation of the group stage draw is unprecedented in a FIFA tournament. FIFA stressed the Bali administration’s rejection of Israel’s participation in the 2023 U-20 World Cup.
By not being able to do [one of the agendas], we have essentially violated our agreement with FIFA.
However, Bali, as well as Jakarta, Bandung (West Java), Surakarta (Central Java), Surabaya (East Java) and Palembang (South Sumatra) signed a host city agreement, which was one of the mandatory documents the PSSI needed to submit as a prospective host for the U-20 World Cup back in 2019.
Apart from the six host cities/provinces, the Indonesian government also made a government declaration for the main requirement to register as a FIFA tournament organizer.
As part of the official agenda ahead of the tournament, the group stage draw is a forum for the 24 participants of the 2023 U-20 World Cup to observe the strengths of their opponents in the group stage. With the event canceled, the participating teams will need more time to get to know their competitors in the group. Additionally, promotions of the tournament and match ticket sales are becoming increasingly unclear.
The cancellation of the draw, Arya continued, could result in the cancellation of the tournament altogether. However, PSSI chairman Erick Thohir is currently in talks with FIFA to ensure the world youth tournament takes place as planned.
“The postponement of the draw will also impact other tournament agendas. We cannot say how likely the tournament will go on because we do not know how successful the PSSI chairman’s lobbying with FIFA is,” he said.
The U-20 World Cup is the second oldest tournament organized by FIFA, after the World Cup. FIFA began as a youth tournament as the World Youth Championship in 1977 in Tunisia.
Given the high prestige of the U-20 World Cup, Ariya added, Indonesia could also be ostracized from the international soccer community if the event was canceled due to the rejection of the Israeli team’s participation. Indonesia could also be suspended by FIFA by having its membership revoked.
Sports law observer Eko Noer Kristiyanto assessed that Indonesia still has a chance of holding the 2023 U-20 World Cup, as FIFA is still undergoing final inspections at stadiums and training grounds in six cities. FIFA’s inspection began on Wednesday (22/3) and will end this Monday (27/3).
Gianyar regency secretary I Dewa Gede Alit Mudiarta said the renovation of Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium in Gianyar, Bali, is still ongoing. The stadium is one of the arenas prepared for the U-20 World Cup. “Tomorrow [Monday] at around 9 a.m. Central Indonesian Time [WITA], FIFA representatives will visit Wayan Dipta,” said Alit.
The rejection of Israel is a purely political matter and has nothing to do with sports.
As for the rejection of Israel’s participation voiced by Wayan and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, according to Eko, there needs to be intensive lobbying from the government to FIFA. The Indonesian government needs to ensure that the tournament can continue as planned.
“President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo must tell FIFA that Indonesia can guarantee the safety of all participants and that the tournament can proceed under control. The rejection of Israel is a purely political matter and has nothing to do with sports,” said Eko.
According to Eko, the government could follow Qatar’s example in communicating with FIFA regarding respecting the values of the country’s locals at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. This prompted FIFA to ban the circulation and consumption of alcohol in stadiums throughout the tournament. (Z09)