Indonesia keep hopes of playing football at Paris Olympics

By Trung Thu   May 20, 2024 | 03:15 pm PT
Indonesia keep hopes of playing football at Paris Olympics
Indonesia players celebrate a goal against Australia in the 2024 U23 Asian Cup. Photo by PSSI
Indonesia are hopeful of participating in the 2024 Olympic men's football, replacing Israel, a country that has been proposed to be removed from the world football federation FIFA.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza led to the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) submitting a proposal to remove Israel as a member of FIFA.

The proposal has received support from several Asian and African football federations, including Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Yemen.

If Israel are dismissed from FIFA, they will lose the right to participate in men's football at the 2024 Paris Olympics, where they are currently in group D with Japan, Paraguay and Mali.

"If this happens, Indonesia's hope of participating in the Olympics will be wide open," newspaper Bola wrote.

However, the Olympics does not have any specific regulation to replace a team in the event. Bola believes that Indonesia would qualify to be a replacement of Israel because they lost 1-0 to Guinea in the Olympic intercontinental playoff on May 9.

Indonesia entered the intercontinental playoff after finishing fourth at 2024 U23 Asian Cup. Previously, they had two opportunities to qualify for the Olympics but lost to Uzbekistan in the semi-finals and Iraq in the third-place play-off.

The last time a Southeast Asian men's football team attended the Olympics was in 1972 with Malaysia and Myanmar.

In response to the proposal from Palestine, FIFA plans to hold an emergency meeting on June 20. Meanwhile, Olympic men's football will start on July 24.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he would conduct a legal assessment of the proposal, while also considering Israel's input.

"Football cannot and must never become a hostage to politics," Infantino told The Telegraph.

"Football must always be a means of expressing peace, hope, motivation for better things, uniting people instead of dividing them."

Previously, in March 2023, FIFA punished Indonesia by stripping them of the right to host the U20 World Cup, due to political interference in football. The decision was made after Bali refused to allow Israel to enter the country to attend the group stage draw and play matches at the tournament.

However, Indonesia avoided a heavy fine when the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) successfully negotiated with FIFA.

PSSI would also like to replace Peru to host the 2023 U17 World Cup and at the same time commit to a number of football development projects in the country.

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