Jakarta: Indonesia’s football federation has said it supports Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the 2034 World Cup, ending the possibility of its own proposal to co-host the event with Australia.
Last week, Indonesian FA president Erick Thohir had said the country was in talks with Australia for a possible joint 2034 World Cup bid, despite the Asian confederation having declared its support for Saudi Arabia’s candidacy.
But Thohir — who also serves as a government minister and was formerly the owner of Serie A club Inter Milan — said the country would now look to host the event after 2034.
“Indonesia supports Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the Fifa World Cup in 2034,” Thohir said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Indonesia continues to prepare for its bid to host the Fifa World Cup after 2034, as well as other FIFA competitions,” he added.
Indonesia’s scrapped joint bid proposal with Australia could also have involved games in New Zealand, Malaysia, and Singapore, Thohir said last week.
Football Australia reiterated earlier this month that it was considering a bid for football’s 2034 showpiece event but did not mention a co-host arrangement with Indonesia.
But Australian officials had mentioned the possibility of a joint bid with Jakarta in June.
Global football body Fifa has invited bids from the Asia and Oceania regions for the rotating World Cup hosting rights with a deadline of October 31 after naming Morocco, Spain and Portugal as joint hosts for 2030.
Riyadh’s bid is the latest step in a campaign to turn the kingdom into a global sports powerhouse.
Indonesian football has been mired in controversy over the past year.
A stadium stampede in Java a year ago killed 135 people and Indonesia lost the hosting rights to the U-20 World Cup after protests in the Muslim-majority nation over Israel’s participation.