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Jokowi on Israel's Participation in U-20 World Cup Polemic: Don't Mix Sports and Politics

28 March 2023 22:00 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaPresident Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has finally spoken up about the polemic regarding the planned visit of the Israeli team to Indonesia for the U-20 World Cup. He guaranteed that Israel's participation in the football tournament has nothing to do with Indonesia's political position towards Palestine, which will always support it firmly and strongly.

In matters of the U-20 World Cup, Jokowi said he agreed with the Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Zuhair Al-Shun that FIFA has rules that must be obeyed by its members. The two met at the Jakarta State Palace last Friday, March 24.

“So don't mix sports and political matters,” Jokowi said in a press statement, Tuesday, March 28.

As previously reported, FIFA canceled the draw for the U-20 World Cup in Bali following the widespread rejection of the Israeli national team's visit to Indonesia. One of them is Bali Governor I Wayan Koster who refused to allow the Israeli national team to compete on the island.

Jokowi then emphasized Indonesia's principle which is always consistent and firm in fighting for and supporting the independence of Palestine. But at the same time, Indonesia supports the completion of the two-state solution. “That Israel and Palestine are independent states,” he added.

According to him, this is in line with the constitutional mandate which rejects colonialism in any form. This attitude, he said, will always be presented by Indonesia in bilateral forums, multilateral forums, and other international forums.

Indonesia is chosen to host the U-20 World Cup through a lengthy bidding and selection process, defeating two other candidates namely Brazil and Peru.

Jokowi mentioned that all parties worked hard together until Indonesia was selected as the host at the end of October 2019. “This is an honor for the Indonesian people because we have been entrusted with holding the U-20 World Cup, a sporting event that has the most fans in the world.

When appointed as the host, Indonesia did not know who would be the participating teams because it was still in the prequalification process. The Israeli national team passed the qualification in July 2022.

Jokowi went on to say that FIFA was aware of this rejection. Thus, the government and the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) are still trying to seek the best solution. “I have sent the General Chairperson of PSSI, Bapak Erick Thohir, to meet with the FIFA team to find the best solution,” he concluded.

FAJAR PEBRIANTO

Editor's Choice: Bali Governor Restricts Israeli National Football Team from Competing in Bali

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