Indonesia’s soccer association rejects proposal for Israel U-20 team to play in Singapore

The proposal to play in Singapore was rejected in response to opposition from local government leaders to host if the Israeli national team participated.


Erick Thohir, then president of Internazionale FC speaks during the launching of a digital product for football club Inter Milan in Jakarta on September 11, 2014. (AFP/Bay Ismoyo)

March 28, 2023

JAKARTA – The Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) has rejected a proposal that would have the Israeli U-20 soccer team play in neighboring Singapore in response to opposition from local government leaders to hosting the tournament if the Israeli national team participates.

Arya Sinalungga, a member of the PSSI executive committee, said at a press briefing on Sunday that Indonesia had applied to be the sole host of the 2023 U-20 FIFA World Cup, so any plan that involved other countries would likely be rejected.

“When we started our bid [to host], there was only one country: Indonesia. Yes, we can make this proposal, but it will likely be rejected because Singapore did not make any bid,” Arya told reporters.

Arya claimed the process of having Singapore join Indonesia as host should have started early in the bidding process.

Many have proposed that Singapore, because of its proximity to Indonesia, should cohost the U-20 World Cup to provide a venue for games involving the Israeli national team.

Indonesia’s fitness to host the 2023 U-20 World Cup has been called into question after FIFA moved to cancel the tournament’s group stage draw in Bali, scheduled for March 31, amid domestic opposition to the participation of Israel.

A number of regional leaders from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) have been vocal in their opposition to Israel’s involvement in recent days. Analysts believe their statements are motivated by domestic political concerns.

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