JAKARTA: Indonesia will declare its interest to football’s world governing body Fifa in jointly holding the 2025 Under-20 World Cup with Singapore, its president said today, despite his country being stripped of the hosting rights to this year’s tournament.
President Joko Widodo said the two countries were also interested in a bid for the biannual Under-17 tournament somewhere between 2025-2029 and would be suitable hosts for either.
Indonesia staged this year’s U-17 contest, which concluded on Saturday, with Germany beating France on penalties.
“The declaration of interest has been signed by PSSI and football association of Singapore,” he told reporters, referring to Indonesia’s football federation.
“I believe Singapore and Indonesia can be good hosts.”
Muslim-majority Indonesia was in March stripped of the rights to host the U-20 contest just seven weeks out from its start due to opposition from some government officials to the participation of Israel.
Senior world champions Argentina took over as hosts of the May 20-June 11 tournament, where Israel finished a surprise third after losing in the semifinals to winners Uruguay.
The loss of hosting rights was a big setback in Indonesia, where football has a huge following, despite the lack of international success since qualifying for the 1938 World Cup as the Dutch East Indies.
Fifa’s decision also came just six months after 135 spectators were killed in a stampede at a domestic match, many crushed as they fled tear gas fired into the crowd by police, in what was one of the sport’s biggest stadium disasters.
Fifa has since opened an office in Indonesia to work with authorities to improve organisational and safety standards after a long history of crowd trouble and a succession of problems with its football association, including allegations of political interference.