Fake subtitles added to FIFA president video to falsely claim 'Israel banned from U20 World Cup'

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A video of FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times after it was shared with a false claim that the world football's governing body has banned Israel from playing in the U20 World Cup in 2023. The video, which was recorded in 2019, actually shows Infantino delivering a message to the Indonesian Football Federation (PSSI) ahead of a special congress to elect a new leadership. The video in the misleading posts has been edited to add fake Indonesian-language subtitles that do not reflect Infantino's speech.

The video of FIFA president Gianni Infantino giving a speech was published here on YouTube on April 2, 2023.

The Indonesian-language title reads: "Trending all over the world -- Indonesia is guaranteed a place to play in U20 World Cup because of this," referring to the Under-20 World Cup due to kick off on May 20, 2023.

The video's Indonesian-language subtitles suggest that Infantino has announced a "ban" on Israel from the tournament.

"Israel deserves to be banned in the World Cup right now. Their heinous action last night makes me sad for the conditions of the Palestinians," the subtitles read as Infantino speaks to the camera in English.

Screenshot comparison of the misleading post, taken on April 17, 2023

At the 0:21 mark, a male narrator can be heard saying in Indonesian: "Israel has been banned by FIFA. Indonesia's U20 team has replaced the position of Israel's U20 team in the U20 World Cup in 2023 ...

"This followed an incident of the Israeli forces' attack on the Faisal al-Husseini Stadium. It happened during a 2023 Palestian league cup final match between Jabal al-Mukaber vs Balata FC."

The three-minute 36-second video has been viewed more than 102,000 times.

The post was shared days after Israeli forces fired tear gas inside at the Faisal al-Husseini Stadium in the West Bank town of al-Ram, near Jerusalem, during a Palestinian cup final match on March 30, 2023 (archived link).

Palestinian soccer players and fans had to receive medical treatment after being exposed to the tear gas that was fired onto the pitch and into the spectator stands (archived link).

One day earlier, on March 29, 2023, FIFA announced it had removed Indonesia as hosts of the 2023 Under-20 World Cup amid political turmoil in the Southeast Asian country over Israel's participation in the soccer event.

Indonesia, which had automatically qualified for the tournament, could no longer compete in the competition as it lost that place to the new hosts.

Indonesia and Israel do not have formal diplomatic relations, and support for the Palestinian cause in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation runs high, fuelling local opposition to hosting the Israeli team.

The video has been viewed more than 608,000 times after it was shared with a similar claim on TikTok here, here and here.

However, the claim is false.

2019 video

A Google reverse image search found the video was originally posted here on the Indonesian Football Confederation's (PSSI) YouTube channel on November 2, 2019.

The Indonesian-language title reads: "A special message from FIFA president Gianni Infantino".

"To welcome the 2019 extraordinary congress of the PSSI election, FIFA president Gianni Infantino delivers a special message to the Indonesian football community," the post's caption partly reads.

The PSSI held an extraordinary congress to elect a new chairman, deputy chairpersons and executive committe on November 2, 2019 (archived link).

In the video, Infantino says, "OK, so hello everybody in Indonesia. I'm very happy to send you a short message.

"Even though I'm not there with you physically, I'm there with you with all my heart.

"I know that Indonesia is not just a great country, but also a great football country."

The genuine video displays correct Indonesian and English subtitles. There is no mention about Israel in the original footage.

However, the misleading video shows fake subtitles, which read: "Apologies to Indonesia. I am aware my decision was wrong.

"Israel deserves to be banned from the World Cup right now. Their heinous actions last night make me sad for the conditions of the Palestinians.

"Congratulations for Indonesia. You deserve to get this."

Below is a screenshot comparison between the video in the misleading post (left) and the genuine video from PSSI (right):

Screenshot comparison between the video in the misleading post (left) and the genuine video from PSSI (right)

The Israeli team have qualified to participate in the U20 World Cup in 2023 after they became runners-up at the 2022 UEFA European Under-19 Championship (archived link).

As of April 17, 2023, there is no official announcement from FIFA nor credible media reports that Israel has been banned to participate in this year's U20 World Cup.