Dio Suhenda, Jakarta – Despite many hoping that the country could have another crack at hosting an international soccer tournament following FIFA's cancelation of the Under-20 World Cup, Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) chief Erick Thohir said Indonesia had so far not proposed to host the U-17 World Cup.
After world soccer governing body FIFA revoked last week Peru's hosting rights for November's U-17 World Cup, speculations were rife that Indonesia could still be in the running to take over as host for the youth tournament.
"Since I met with the FIFA boss, there were assumptions that, after [FIFA] canceled the U-20 tournament, [Indonesia] might have another chance with the U-17 tournament. But I think these speculations are too premature," Erick was quoted by local media outlets as saying on Monday.
"At the moment, neither I nor the FIFA chairman have talked [about Indonesia potentially hosting] the U-17 [World Cup]," he added.
Erick previously met with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino in Paris last week as a follow-up to their initial meeting in Qatar the week prior.
In its official statement, FIFA said Erick had presented the first draft of the strategic plan for Indonesian soccer and shared President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's plans and commitment to invest in soccer infrastructure all over the country.
FIFA also decided to freeze its Forward Fund for Indonesia, initially set to aid the PSSI's operationalization, as an additional sanction for the country's failure to fulfill its U-20 FIFA World Cup host obligations due to a movement in the country that looked to ban Israel from participating in the tournament.
Newly inducted Youth and Sports Minister Dito Ariotedjo also admitted that, after talking with Erick, Indonesia's prospects of hosting the U-17 World Cup were slim.
"I have also asked [Erick] about the U-17 [World Cup], but I think it will be difficult [for Indonesia to be host]. We also have to look at the advantages and disadvantages," Dito said on Monday, as quoted by tempo.co.
He went on to say that the government had yet to make up its mind whether or not it would lodge a formal bid as host.