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Asia

Under-fire Jakarta International Stadium included as U17 World Cup venue

A rendering published ahead of the stadium’s opening in 2022

Featured image credit: Buro Happold

A rendering published ahead of the stadium’s opening in 2022

Featured image credit: Buro Happold

Jakarta International Stadium has been passed fit to be named as one of four venues that will host games at this year’s FIFA U17 World Cup 2023 in Indonesia.

Erick Thohir, chair of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), said that FIFA has approved a plan for stadiums in capital city Jakarta, Bandung, Solo and Surabaya to host the 24-team tournament, which is scheduled to take place from November 10 to December 2.

Thohir said there will be two groups competing at the 82,000-capacity Jakarta International Stadium (JIS), then two groups at Bandung’s Si Jalak Harupat Stadium, one group at Surabaya’s Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium, and one group at Solo’s Manahan Stadium.

PSSI has proposed that the Indonesian national team compete in Jakarta. In addition, the opening of the tournament will be held in Jakarta, while the semifinal and final matches will be held in Solo.

“Out of eight stadiums, based on the result of a meeting with FIFA yesterday, we finally agreed on four stadiums,” said Thohir, who is also serving as the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises.

JIS – which only opened last year – was found to be defective after an initial inspection of the facility in July, soon after Indonesia was handed the tournament after Peru was stripped of hosting rights because it failed to finish building the required infrastructure.

Senior political and football administration figures who inspected JIS identified issues with spectator access and car parking as well as the playing surface.

According to the Kompas news service, Basuki said the playing surface will be completely replaced for short-term use ahead of the tournament and switched to a different type of grass for the long-term. It has since been claimed that JIS will see five new access points added as well as a temporary playing surface.

The standard of the stadium created a political row in Indonesia as it was the pet project of former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, now a Presidential candidate. Baswedan and his supporters were insistent that JIS does not need to be renovated and that those who claim it is deficient are attempting to smear his campaign.

FIFA officials will visit Indonesia again on August 26 and bring a larger team as part of the preparations for the U17 World Cup. PSSI, together with Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, Youth and Sports Minister Dito Ariotedjo, acting Jakarta governor Heru Budi Hartono, and West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil will prepare for the FIFA team’s visit.

Indonesia was earlier this year stripped of the FIFA U20 World Cup following widespread protests across the predominantly Muslim country against Israel’s participation. Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium was due to be the main venue for that tournament, but is not in the running for the U17 version as it already has other events scheduled. Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium in Bali and Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium in Palembang were also due to host games in the U20 competition.