Hosting of FIFA World Cup for youths potentially fuels economic growth

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SINGAPORE: Following their successful hosting of the 2023 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, Indonesia has declared its interest in jointly hosting future youth World Cups with Singapore. This was announced by Indonesian President Joko Widodo at a media conference on Dec 4, alongside Ario Bimo Nandito Ariotedjo, Minister of Youth and Sports, and Erick Thohir, chairman of Persatuan Sepak Bola Seluruh Indonesia (PSSI).

“I have informed PSSI and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to explore possibilities (hosting) for the Under-20 World Cup in 2025, and Under-17 from 2025 to 2029, and to bid for it with Singapore. I am confident Indonesia and Singapore will be good hosts for both tournaments, which I have mentioned,” said President Jokowi.

During the media conference, President Jokowi revealed that PSSI had signed a declaration of interest with their counterpart, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS). FAS later acknowledged this in a media release.

“The Football Association of Singapore has signed a letter of intent to discuss and consider jointly hosting future editions of either the U20 or U17 World Cup with Persatuan Sepak Bola Seluruh Indonesia from 2025 onwards,” mentioned FAS in their media release.

FAS further clarified that while the letter of intent has been submitted to FIFA, it remains exploratory. If any formal bid were to be explored, further discussions with FIFA and PSSI would be required, and consensus would need to be sought with relevant agencies in Singapore.

Dr. Reza Siregar, Special Advisor to the Coordinating Minister for the Economic Affairs of Indonesia (Photo credit: Khalis Rifhan)

Economic Benefits of Co-Hosting FIFA Youth World Cup

While the announcement will undoubtedly excite football fans in Singapore and Indonesia, hosting such tournaments extends far beyond the confines of the football stadium. It presents a potential economic catalyst for growth and prosperity for the host nation, with benefits lasting weeks and even months after the final whistle blows.

Dr Reza Siregar, Special Advisor to the Coordinating Minister for the Economic Affairs of Indonesia, echoed this sentiment. He emphasises that hosting the recent or future FIFA World Cups for youths should not be viewed solely as a sporting event. Instead, it should be seen as a valuable opportunity for Indonesia, or any host country, to attract football fans and leverage the global spotlight to showcase its economic potential to the international community.

“For us, as Minister Bahlil said earlier during the forum, everything is a win-win situation for us. We can always explore any kind of commitment. Of course, Indonesia can do it alone, but we believe with this collaboration, the impact for this region will be bigger. The spirit of football is everywhere in ASEAN,” shared Dr Siregar with The Independent Singapore when asked about the significance of Indonesia co-hosting the FIFA World Cup for youths with Singapore.

“It is to increase the attractiveness of the event, to bring in more spectators; it is not just about football, but to bring more people and (economic) activities to the region. This is also an event that will hopefully spill over to higher tourism, which is what Indonesia is aiming at.”

Dr Siregar mentioned that when Indonesia hosted the recent FIFA Under-17 World Cup, they held it in four different cities – Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, and Surakarta. The fans travelled all over Indonesia and were not just in the country for football.

“So going to the stadium and watching the matches are just a small portion of what they do. What’s best to bring Indonesia into the limelight than through football,” added the former National University of Singapore Department of Economics lecturer.

Dr Siregar was speaking at the sideline of a forum – Charting a sustainable part: Indonesia’s investment outlook 2024 and opportunities in the green economy – held in Singapore at the Hilton Singapore Orchard on Dec 8. Indonesia’s Minister of Investment, Bahlil Lahadalia, gave the keynote address, where he shared the country’s economic growth and opportunities with the attendees, which included Singapore and Indonesia business representatives.

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