Sports

Indonesia upbeat to host
`green' World Cup

The Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) is moving to kick off its campaign to host the 2022 World Cup, its chairman Nurdin Halid said.

PSSI is campaigning for the heart of world's soccer ruling body FIFA by sounding out its World Cup host country proposal to FIFA members and hosting the FIFA president next month.

In a presentation Monday, Nurdin said he believed Indonesia stood a chance to win FIFA's approval to host the 2022 World Cup, despite the relatively poorer infrastructure, coupled with the low quality of the national squad compared to other candidates.

He said Indonesia had proposed a "Green World Cup 2022", hoping to capitalize on the current green and global warming movement worldwide.

"Our deforestation rate has contributed much to world pollution. By hosting the World Cup, we wish to build infrastructure and facilities that are environmentally friendly so we can give more to the planet," he said.

The PSSI, he said, would send its proposal this week to FIFA members to give them an idea of what Indonesia was offering.

Nurdin added that FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter would pay a visit to Indonesia "sometime in March", but declined to disclose the agenda.

He also said the construction of 10 new stadiums across the country, ranging in capacity from 40,000 to 50,000 spectators, were expected to be completed by 2015.

These stadiums are in Surabaya, Makassar, Medan, Tangerang, Yogyakarta and Gianyar.

Indonesia currently has three stadiums - Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta, Gelora Sriwijaya in Palembang and Palaran in Samarinda.

Other countries also bidding for the 2022 World Cup are Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands (as co-hosts), England, Japan, Russia, Mexico, the United States, South Korea, Qatar and Spain and Portugal (as co-hosts).

State Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Adhyaksa Dault said the government was upbeat about the proposal and would "provide assistance in all aspects".

"What needs to be remembered is that all efforts must be integrated and coordinated," he said.

Adhyaksa also pointed out that Mexico and Brazil, which he said were not well-off countries, had twice played host to world soccer's showpiece event.

"Hoping that we'll be better in 2022, I think we could be a good host," he said.

FIFA is scheduled to announce the 2022 host on Dec. 10, 2010.

Indonesia has hosted a number of international conferences and sporting events, including the 2007 UN Climate Change Conference and last year's inaugural Asian Beach Games.

However, critics have snubbed the proposal, saying Indonesia needs to improve the quality of its national squad first (currently ranked 144th in the world) before seeking to hog the world stage.

Despite the sport's wide popularity here, soccer is barely an industry yet, while thousands of clubs are still rated amateur.

In addition, fanaticism among local soccer fans has led to several chaotic incidents that have resulted in fatalities and financial losses.

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