False rematch claim circulates after Indonesian football team misses Paris Olympics chance

After Indonesia's Under-23 men's football team missed the chance to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics, an old video of Gianni Infantino resurfaced with a false claim the FIFA president ordered a replay of the Southeast Asian country's qualification match against Guinea. Infantino has made no such announcement as of May 27 and actually said Indonesia's Olympics dream ended when it lost to Guinea. The misused clip -- viewed hundreds of thousands of times -- shows him speaking about the late football legend Pele in January 2023.

"Guinea cannot do anything. After Guinea's penalty kick goal became controversial, FIFA ordered a replay of the Indonesia-Guinea match," read the title of a YouTube video viewed more than 655,000 times since it was posted on May 9.

The video shows FIFA president Gianni Infantino being interviewed by journalists, followed by clips of an Olympic qualifier between Indonesia and Guinea on May 9, 2024.

He can be heard saying in English, "Pele had, I think, the gift of God. A gift that very few people on Earth have. And it's the gift to touch the heart." 

After Infantino's interview, a male narrator can be heard saying in Indonesian, "After sensing that there was something strange about the decision made by the referee who led the match between Indonesia's Under-23 team and Guinea in the 2024 Olympic play-off round, FIFA president Gianni Infantino immediately made the following comment."

The narrator, quoting purported statements from Infantino, then says: "'During the match, the Indonesian national team was once again defeated by the referee, a.k.a the field judge, especially in the 28th minute'".

Screenshot of the false post, taken on May 23, 2024

Indonesia's hopes of Olympic qualification ended in May following a 1-0 playoff defeat to Guinea.

It was a crushing blow for the Southeast Asian country's fans, who had hoped to watch their team play football at an Olympics for the first time in nearly seven decades.

Infantino told Indonesia's fans to keep supporting the team in a post on Instagram on May 10 (archived link).

"The team missed out on a historic qualification for the Olympic Games by a very narrow margin," he said.

The video was also shared with a similar false claim on Facebook here and here.

Old interview

Reverse image and keyword searches found a longer version of the video published by The Guardian newspaper on January 3, 2023 (archived link).

It was titled: "Fifa's Gianni Infantino will ask every country to name stadium in honour of Pele".

"The Fifa president, Gianni Infantino, confirmed the organisation will ask every country in the world to name one of their football stadiums after the late supersta[r], Pelé," read the caption of the Guardian's video.

In the interview, Infantino makes the same comments about Pele as shown in the video shared in the false posts, before saying: "The legacy that he leaves for what he did on the field.

"I mean, he was the first in doing so many things that 99 percent of players can only dream about and the other one percent can do maybe one those things that he was doing, and he was the first in doing all the things. This will remain in our hearts forever." 

Infantino went on to further reflect on Pele's legacy but did not mention the Indonesian football team's Olympic bid in the interview. "Pele is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time, having won the World Cup three times and scored more than 1,000 goals," he said.

Below is a screenshot comparison between the clip shared with a false claim (left) and the original video published by The Guardian (right):

Comparison between the false clip (left) and the original video (right)

Infantino paid his final respects to Pele at a wake in the Brazilian city of Santos in January 2023, during which he said FIFA would ask all member countries to name a stadium in the late footballer's honour, AFP reported at the time.

Guinea qualified for Olympics

On May 9, FIFA announced the 16 qualified countries for the 2024 Olympics' football tournament in France including Guinea (archived link).

Screenshot of FIFA''s post on X, taken on May 24, 2024

The Olympics committee has also said that Guinea qualified for the Olympics after beating Indonesia 1-0 (archived link).

As of May 27, there has been no official announcement on FIFA's website or social media accounts that the Indonesia-Guinea match will be replayed.

AFP previously debunked a claim that the Asian Football Confederation would order that a match between Indonesia and Uzbekistan be replayed.

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