‘Sports and politics don’t mix’ is the headline of an editorial published by Indonesia newspaper, The Jakarta Post.
This is in the aftermath of FIFA’s revocation of an earlier hosting rights given to Indonesia for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Following Indonesia’s refusal to allow Israel, a qualified team to feature in the competition, FIFA on Wednesday took the competition away from Indonesia.
The editorial blamed the country’s leader, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’ and his political party, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P),
for allowing politics to creep into sports in the moderate Islamic country.
“The endgame of this affair will unfold soon, but one thing for sure is that politics still prevails in almost all aspects of life in this country.
“We have seen the weaponization of laws for political interests, as happened in the enforcement of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, the revision of the Criminal Code, and the politicization of religion, which was rampant during elections both in national and regional levels. The move by Bali Governor I Wayan Koster and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, who both are PDI-P members, to reject entry of the Israeli youth team is a blatant attempt to politicize sports.
“With the Feb. 14, 2024 elections in mind, the PDI-P, which failed to perform in regions known for their leaning to conservative Islam, will expect to reap votes from Muslim electorates to win both the legislative and presidential elections.
“Especially for Ganjar, who has consistently topped the opinion surveys of potential presidential candidates, his anti-Israel narrative is a display of loyalty to the party, while proving his Islamic credentials to voters. In fact, PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri has not made her mind about her choice of presidential candidate. Such resistance sounds “normal” if it comes from Muslim-based parties.
“Only this time around, the PDI-P is making a big fuss of the Israel issue while it was silent about the Knesset delegation’s presence in the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which the House of Representatives hosted in Bali in March last year.
“The PDI-P, too, was quiet when Israel assured itself of a ticket to Indonesia in July last year. It seems Indonesian soccer has been unable to break the “curse” of political intervention”, The Jakarta Post concluded.