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Indonesia to host 2021 Fifa U20 World Cup

Indonesian national football team supporters during the AFF U19 Cup Final match between Indonesia and Vietnam. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)

Fifa has appointed Indonesia host of the U20 World Cup in 2021, after a vote at the governing body’s council meeting in Shanghai on Thursday.

Indonesia was chosen over Brazil and Peru. It was the only bid from the Asian Football Confederation after Myanmar, Thailand, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates withdrew from the bidding process.

The Fifa Council meeting also saw China officially appointed host of the first edition of a new Club World Cup in 2021 and Peru made host of the U17 World Cup 2021.

The Football Association Of Indonesia’s head of media and international relations Gatot Widakdo said: “Our bid to host the 2021 U20 World Cup is part of our long-term plans to host the championship for senior competitions in 2034 or 2038.”

Indonesia’s success will be a boost for plans by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ to host the 2034 Fifa World Cup. The other four countries in the proposed joint Asean bid are Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

The Football Association of Indonesia general secretary Ratu Tisha Destria has previously remarked that, to host a World Cup, the association must have experience in organising a Fifa-level competition. However, of the five Asean nations in the proposed World Cup bid, only Malaysia has previously hosted one – the Fifa World Youth Championship in 1997.

Indonesia has prepared 10 stadiums to host the event, in Jakarta and several other provinces including West Java, South Sumatra, Yogyakarta and Bali. A Fifa delegation surveyed five of the 10 stadiums last month, Gatot said.

A member of the PSSI executive committee, Refrizal, was pleased with the news, but warned that there is still much to do to prepare Indonesia’s infrastructure for the U20 World Cup by 2021. According to the Jakarta Post, the PKS politician said: “There are some basic things like chairs (in stadiums) and other equipment that we need to modify to be in line with Fifa’s requirements. Currently we are preparing these stadiums for this purpose.”

The head of the Indonesia National Team Supports Association, Ignatius Indro, did highlight potential cultural issues that both the PSSI and Fifa would have to navigate in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population. He said: “Alcoholic beverages like beer, for example, could become a problem if we do not address this early and find a win-win solution because we will likely host fans from all over the world and many of them drink beer.”