By Mohd Iswandi Kasan Anuar
JAKARTA, March 29 (NNN-Bernama) — Indonesia has sent its special representative to meet the International Football Federation (FIFA), following the crisis that has erupted following the rejection of the Israeli team’s participation in the Under-20 World Cup (U-20) tournament by two governors in the republic.
President Joko Widodo said in a statement that the chief of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) Erick Thohir had been sent to meet the FIFA committee to find the best solution.
He assured that the participation of the Israeli team has nothing to do with Indonesia’s foreign policy stance on Palestine because support for Palestine remains intact.
An agreement was also reached with the Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia that FIFA has rules that must be followed by its members, therefore “do not mix sports and politics”.
“FIFA has learned of the rejection of the Israeli team’s participation in the U-20 World Cup, but both the government and the PSSI are still trying to find a solution,” he said, referring to the recent protests by Bali Governor Wayan Koster and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo.
Indonesia was chosen as the host of the 2023 edition of the competition in October 2019, while the participation of the Israeli team was only known in July 2022.
The U-20 World Cup is scheduled to be held from May 20 to June 11 involving 24 countries and will take place in six locations, namely Bali, Bandung, Jakarta, Palembang, Solo and Surabaya.
Local media reported that FIFA has officially suspended the draw for the under-20 World Cup scheduled for March 31 in Bali,