Is sport political? 2023

After Indonesia excluded the Israeli team from the Under-20s World Cup owing to their treatment of Palestinians, Fifa is looking for a new host. Indonesia was removed as host “due to current circumstances” by the international federation.

They said the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) faces “potential sanctions” that will be decided later. Indonesians were banned in 2015 for third-party interference, making this depressing. The Under-20s World Cup was long-awaited because they missed the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.

This ruling highlights political-sports issues. Whether governments, fans, or players voice out, Fifa is unequivocal.

The letter stated, “We know football does not live in a vacuum, and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world.” “Not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists,” it stated. Politics are off-limits for Fifa.

Fifa’s politics-free federation is admirable. When countries are barred from sports competitions, athletes are punished, not their governments. Athletes lose their life goals when their country loses medals and trophies. Sport is an escape for many in such countries, and taking it away for activities they have no control over is unfair and counterproductive.

The president of Save Our Soccer, Mr. Marhali, said that “the Israelis who would come are not the army, not the government, but the athletes and soccer players who have no interest in politics”. Sport must not be politicized.

football is united with Ukraine’s victims.

Who decides what political acts should be banned from worldwide competitions? Fifa and UEFA banned all Russian clubs and national teams in February for fighting in Ukraine. Fifa stated that “football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine” and hopes for peace in Ukraine. Despite efforts to hold Israel and Qatar accountable for their treatment of Palestinians and migrant workers, inconsistency and double standards persist.

Fifa’s view of these conflicts affects its engagement. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine seems more local and serious than Middle East human rights atrocities. Fifa responded to Poland and Sweden’s World Cup boycott of Russia. Indonesia loses hosting when they try the same.

“The decision to suspend Russian clubs and teams from all competitions must be accompanied by a ban on those affiliated with Israel [because Israel] has been killing children and women in Palestine for years,” stated retired Egyptian player Aboutrika. Without the other, people wonder if certain lives are worth more than others.

Indonesia’s solution of banning Israel poses moral issues. Human rights atrocities occur worldwide, but football is not the venue to fight them. We would be unchallenged if we blacklisted all countries for political atrocities.

As with Russia and Israel, subjectivity sneaks into where we draw the border, making consistency difficult. Political bias can only be eliminated by treating all conflicts equally. A team should only be banned if it compromises the sport. Arya Sinulingga (PSSI committee member) believes we cannot make “political requirements in sports” and must prioritize sports.

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