Jakarta. The Indonesian government has scrapped any idea of pageantry for the opening and closing ceremonies of the FIFA U-20 World Cup the country will host in May-June next year, as coronavirus is still raging on in many parts of the world.
"Mr. President has just told us that according to directives from the FIFA, there will be no grand spectacles during the opening and closing ceremonies as we did at the  Asian Games," Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy said in a video conference on Tuesday, referring to the world football governing body.
The event will be the first global football tournament hosted by Indonesia, which has prepared six stadiums on three different islands -- Java, Sumatra and Bali.
When the country hosted the Asian Games two years ago, Indonesian people witnessed the most spectacular ceremonies in sporting events in their homeland, with the involvement of thousands of teenagers in choreographed dance, performance by international artists, massive fireworks display and digital effects. As the cherry on top, there was a cameo featuring President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo who spectacularly arrived at the stadium on a sports motorcycle -- with the help of a stuntman.
Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali said he could only expect speeches from government officials and leaders in the sport for the opening.
"I must say that the opening ceremony for the U-20 World Cup will be in a stark contrast to the one when we hosted the Asian Games. The FIFA says there will speeches from them and the government for just about 5 to 8 minutes before the opening match," Amali said.
"The president duly follows the FIFA directives … so he told us the event will be opened with speeches," he added.
The government has yet to decide whether it will allow spectators at the stadiums pending advices from the National Covid-19 Task Force and the FIFA, he said.
"We put public safety and health above anything else, but hopefully situation will improve in May and June so that we can allow spectators at half of the stadium capacity. The decision is up to the FIFA to make," Amali said.
The matches will be played at Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium in Palembang, South Sumatra; Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta; Si Jalak Harupat Stadium in Bandung, West Java; Manahan Stadium in Solo, Central Java; Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium in Surabaya, East Java; and Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium in Bali.
In addition, the host country also prepares four stadiums designated for pre-match trainings.
Preparations in the six cities have been running smoothly as planned and “there is nothing to worry about", Amali claimed.