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Indonesia Avoids Harsh FIFA Sanction after U-20 World Cup Fiasco

Jakarta. World football governing body FIFA handed an administrative sanction to Indonesia after the country was stripped of the right to host the U-20 World Cup just a month before the tournament begins due to local opposition to Israel’s participation.

The sanction was announced on Thursday following a meeting between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) Chairman Erick Thohir.

“The FIFA President explained that, following last week’s meeting, the FIFA Administration had, as a sanction, provisionally recommended a restriction on the use of FIFA Forward funds until further notice and would now thoroughly assess the strategic plan that has been presented today before lifting this sanction,” FIFA said in a press statement published on its website.

During the meeting, Infantino also reaffirmed “FIFA’s full commitment to support PSSI in this essential transformation process and would provide the necessary assistance where required”.

FIFA has promised to help transform Indonesian football since the wake of the October 1, 2022 stadium crush that killed more than 130 people in the East Java town of Malang.

It also agreed to assign officials to the Indonesian office to directly monitor the assistance program.

In a statement, Erick compared the sanction to a “yellow card” as he thanked FIFA for not being tougher on the country.

“I can only say ‘praise be to God’ because of His blessing and the prayer from all the Indonesian people especially football fans that Indonesia is saved from the harsh sanction of being isolated from the world football,” Erick wrote. 

“In my words, Indonesia has been shown a yellow card, not a red one,” he added.

Erick, who is also the state-owned enterprise minister in the cabinet, said that he presented Infantino the government’s plan to renovate 22 football stadiums across the country during the meeting and the blueprint for football management transformation.

Source : Jakarta Globe