Indonesia Fails To Host U-20 World Cup: Is It Really Because Of Political Intervention? – OpEd
The shocking news was issued by FIFA as a result of internal domestic circumstances by canceling Indonesia as the host for the U-20 World Cup which was planned to be held on 20 May – 11 June 2023. This decision was regretted by many parties because Indonesia had already prepared for this event.
Indonesia itself was chosen as the host because it won the bidding on October 24, 2019 which defeated other countries such as Brazil, Peru, and several other candidates. The final decision of the FIFA Council was held in Shanghai, China on 23-24 October 2019. The U-20 World Cup should have been held in 2021, but due to the Covid pandemic, the event was postponed to 2023. However, Indonesia will still host the U-20 World Cup -20. Therefore, Indonesia has prepared six match stadiums in Jakarta, Bandung, Solo, Palembang, Surabaya, and Bali. This preparation is supported by an agreement in Indonesia between government agencies, regions, and parties involved by declaring their ability to organize the world cup.
This preparation has cost up to trillions of rupiah. This is not a small nominal. Committee X of the DPR said that the Ministry of Youth and Sports requested funds of 400 billion rupiahs for the U-20 World Cup. Furthermore, in 2022, the Minister of Youth and Sports requested an additional fund of around 3 trillion rupiahs and 500 billion rupiahs to be directed to the preparation of the event. In 2023, the Minister For Public Works and Human Settlements will also spend around 175 billion rupiahs to revitalize the stadium that will be used. When totaled, the costs that have been spent by Indonesia for the U-20 world cup reached 1.4 trillion rupiahs.
In addition, hosting international events has many positive impacts in Indonesia. Indonesia can improve its image in the international world and be able to promote its culture through this international event. The success of the event can also invite investors to invest their shares as well as give confidence to Indonesia to hold other international events. Furthermore, this event can also provide business opportunities for the surrounding community, or in Indonesia, it is known as Usaha Mikro, Kecil, dan Menengah (UMKM). The economic sector is a sector that is very influential and has an impact on this international event because it can interact directly with the government and local residents. In addition, for the Indonesian national team, the advantage is that they can directly compete in the world cup without going through a qualification process. This is a special privilege for the hosts.
However, unfortunately, FIFA has officially canceled Indonesia’s status as the host of the U-20 world cup. Indonesia’s cancellation as host of the U-20 world cup was triggered by the rejection of the Israeli national team in Indonesia by several political elites, who are known to be the Governor of Bali I Wayan Koster, and the Governor of Central Java Ganjar Pranowo. This rejection was identified because the Israeli and Palestinian conflict was related to Indonesia’s support for Palestine. Thus, Indonesia cannot benefit from the implementation of the world cup, on the contrary, it suffers losses due to the cancellation of the event.
The Indonesian people were very disappointed with this decision, especially the political elite who expressed their rejection of the Israeli national team. However, the Israeli national team managed to pass the qualifying stage and qualify to compete in the next league. Thus, FIFA supports Israel to continue competing because of the principle it adheres to, namely not discriminating. In this case, Indonesia has shown inconsistency with FIFA’s principles, namely equality, fair play, and non-discrimination which cannot be contested. FIFA’s attempt to cancel the world cup in Indonesia and find another host is a form of enforcing this principle.
This is also a lesson for political elites to guard against speech and behavior that can harm the country. Political elites must be able to distinguish between politics and sports. Not all aspects should be mixed up with politics, which actually makes things complicated. On the other hand, the political elites may consider sport as one of the peace efforts. In this case, we can take the example where South Korea and North Korea, which have been in conflict and separated since the 1950s, actually made a joint team for the Olympics. They set aside political matters to fight together in the Olympics.
The statements of the political elites have also drowned the Indonesian national team’s dream of competing in the event. As a result of the cancellation, Indonesia received light sanctions such as a yellow card. These sanctions were obtained through lobbying by PSSI chairman, Erick Thohir so that Indonesia would avoid severe sanctions. Even so, the dreams of the nation’s children have been dashed where they have been educated for years to make the nation proud through the field of football. Indonesia’s political elites must think before they act. Don’t defend other countries so desperately but make your own country miserable and kill the dreams of the nation’s children. Even if the Israeli national team enters and competes in Indonesia, Indonesia’s support for Palestine will not change.