Asean leaders hold their blue jerseys during the signing of an MoU with FIFA in Bangkok on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of FIFA)

Jokowi Given Specially Numbered Jersey by FIFA at Asean Summit

BY :ANSELMUS BATA, HERU ANDRIYANTO

NOVEMBER 03, 2019

Bangkok. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was given a football jersey with a special number on the back during a meeting between Asean leaders and world football governing body FIFA in Bangkok on Saturday.

While nine leaders in the ten-member Asean received blue jerseys with the number nine or ten, Jokowi was wearing a number 21 jersey as they posed for group photos together with FIFA President Gianni Infantino at Bangkok's Impact Exhibition and Convention Center.

Presidential press bureau head Erlin Suastini said number nine jerseys were given to heads of government and number ten to heads of state.

"President Joko Widodo was given number 21 because Indonesia has been officially announced as the host of the 2021 Under-20 World Cup," she said in a statement.

Jokowi, under Indonesia's presidential system, is both head of government and state.

FIFA said on its website it had met with the Southeast Asian leaders to sign a comprehensive memorandum of understanding "to leverage football as a catalyst for social development and healthy lifestyles in the region."

The landmark agreement was signed by FIFA President Infantino and Asean Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi in a special ceremony during the Asean Summit and witnessed by all Asean leaders.

"It's a true honor, a true pleasure to be here. I'm very excited about the journey that we are starting today. It is our duty and our task to come here, to work together and to invest... in football, in our youth, in your boys and girls because as we know, football is a school of life," Infantino was quoted as saying.

The MoU covers a broad range of collaborations with a strong focus on education, including the implementation of FIFA's Football for Schools Programme to foster life skills and physical education across Southeast Asia.

Other key areas of the cooperation will be the promotion of child safeguarding in football, increasing awareness of clean and fair play and eradicating match manipulation and doping, the organization said.

The Asean leaders welcome the regional grouping's first formal collaboration with FIFA in football-loving Southeast Asia.

"Football, and sports in general, can be a strategic means for bringing people together, promoting greater people-to-people connectivity and making Asean even stronger as one community," Secretary-General Lim said.

The regional economic bloc comprises Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.

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