Anger and Sadness Felt After FIFA Removed Indonesia As The Host of FIFA U-20 World Cup

Minister Erick Thohir will talk with FIFA in Doha about the controversies surrounding World Cup U-20., Jakarta - Update: 

FIFA removed Indonesia as the host of World Cup U20. The decision was met with anger and sadness among football fans in Indonesia. The decision was made after FIFA met with Indonesian representations led by Minister Erick Thohir.

"Following today’s meeting between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and President of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) Erick Thohir, FIFA has decided, due to the current circumstances, to remove Indonesia as the host of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023™," said FIFA on Wednesday.

Erick Thohir posted black photo on Instagram after FIFA released the announcement.

Governor of Middle Java Ganjar Pranowo and Governor of Bali I Wayan Koster have been facing a tsunami of criticism by the social media users. Both governors publicly rejecting Israel National Team in their provinces.

In one Instagram post, over 200,000 comments flooded Ganjar's post to scold him. The cancellation could potentially damage Ganjar's prospect to join the 2024 presidential election.

Negotiation Attempt

Before the cancellation, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) was sending Minister Erick Thohir to fix the issues concerning the FIFA World Cup U-20 amidst the fear of cancellation. Previously, FIFA abruptly cancelled the draw event in Bali.

Erick Thohir is the minister of state-owned enterprises. He is also the newly elected head of Indonesian football association (PSSI).

"I have the instruction to immediately make diplomacy, to find a solution for Indonesian football. This is not easy. I will make the most maximum efforts," said Erick Thohir in Bekasi on Tuesday (28/3).

The meeting between Erick and FIFA was scheduled to be at 1 PM on Wednesday.

FIFA cancelled the draw not long after the governors of Bali and Middle Java expressed rejection toward the Israel National Team in order to support Palestine. But President Joko Widodo has given a statement to separate between politics and football. 

"Do not mix up the sports affairs and political affairs," said President Jokowi.

Governor I Wayan Koster of Bali, Governor Ganjar Pranowo of Middle Java, and President Joko Widodo are from the same political party.

Erick Thohir said that all the stadiums are ready for World Cup U-20, although he declines to comment further until he listens to FIFA's perspective.

Recently, FIFA and PSSI deleted the tweets of the Indonesian official anthem for the World Cup U-20. But Erick guarantees that there has been no official cancellation yet.

"If there were, we would not hide it. This is the era of openness, professionalism," said the head of PSSI.

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Son of President Speaks Out

Mayor of Solo Gibran Rakabuming Raka said that his city is ready to be the location for FIFA World Cup U-20 drawing event. He expresses the readiness once PSSI and ministry of sports send their request.

Gibran is also annoyed by the protests around World Cup U-20 since the regional leaders already committed to see through this tournament.

"What is the obligation? For me it's the commitment. What I have signed in the agreement, I commit," said the eldest son of President Joko Widodo.

"If it's being protested, they should have protested it from a long time ago," Gibran underlined.

The comment is somewhat ironic since one of the governors who rejects Israel is Ganjar Pranowo of Middle Java. Solo city is located in Middle Java, thus Ganjar is Gibran's superior in the region. Both men also member of same political party: PDI-P.

Since the controversies about Israel threaten to cancel FIFA World Cup U-20 in the country, the Middle Java and Bali governors have not openly commented about the issue.


Bogi Triyadi, Wayan Dianto, and Delvira Hutabarat contributed to the article.

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