INDONESIA – Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced on Monday (4 Dec) Indonesia’s intention to jointly host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2025 with Singapore. President Joko Widodo revealed that the expression of interest had been signed by the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).
“I believe Singapore and Indonesia can be excellent hosts,” he expressed confidently during a press conference in Jakarta.
In a separate development on the same day, FAS issued a statement, stating that a letter of intent had been sent to FIFA to explore the possibility of co-hosting the U-20 and U-17 World Cups with Indonesia from 2025 onwards.
The FAS emphasized that the letter was exploratory at this stage, and any potential offer would need further development in collaboration with FIFA and PSSI. Additionally, consensus within Singaporean institutions would be sought regarding this bid.
President Joko Widodo instructed PSSI and the Ministry of Youth and Sports (Kemenpora) to further explore the opportunities for hosting the U-20 World Cup in 2025 and the U-17 World Cup from 2025 to 2029. He emphasized the ongoing preparations, including the signing of a cooperation agreement with the Football Association of Singapore.
“We are in the process, and we will complete the renovation of our 22 football stadiums. In preparation for this, I may need to declare the interest that has been signed by PSSI and the Football Association of Singapore,” stated President Joko Widodo.
This announcement follows Indonesia’s loss of the hosting rights for the U-20 World Cup in 2023 in March due to the government’s refusal to allow the participation of the U20 Israeli national team. FIFA’s decision to revoke Indonesia as the host came amid political tensions, leading to disappointment within the football community.
President Joko Widodo’s proactive approach seeks to overcome the challenges faced in 2023 by proposing a joint bid with Singapore. The move not only demonstrates a commitment to hosting international events but also addresses previous issues, allowing teams like Israel to participate if they qualify for the U-20 World Cup in 2025.
The decision to include Singapore in the bid was made just six months after a tragic incident in Malang, East Java, where 135 spectators lost their lives during a football match. Stampeded ensued as fans fled from tear gas fired by the police, making it one of the worst stadium disasters in football history.
The subsequent U-20 World Cup in 2023 was eventually hosted by Argentina, with Uruguay emerging as the tournament champions.
However, Indonesia had the opportunity to host the recently concluded U-17 World Cup, which was won by the German national team.
Looking ahead, the proposal to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2025 and the U-17 World Cup from 2025 to 2029 as a joint venture with Singapore signals Indonesia’s determination to reclaim its status as a host nation. These tournaments play a crucial role in the development of young talent and showcase a nation’s ability to organize and manage major sporting events.
Erick Thohir, Chairman of the U-17 World Cup Committee in Indonesia and President of PSSI, expressed gratitude to all parties involved in the success of the U-17 World Cup 2023. He acknowledged the high appreciation from the global football community and credited the achievement for opening doors to potential future hosting opportunities.
“Thanks to Indonesia for the success as the host of the U-17 World Cup, which received global appreciation. This success opens the opportunity to bid for the hosting rights of the U-20 World Cup in 2025 and the U-17 World Cup from 2025 to 2029. And we will try to bid together with Singapore,” said Erick.
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