Indonesia Is No Longer Hosting The U-20 FIFA World Cup

After an Indonesian official objected to Israel’s participation in the Under-20 Men’s World Cup later this year, FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, has denied Indonesia the right to host the tournament.

In a statement, FIFA said,

“FIFA has decided, due to the current circumstances, to remove Indonesia as the host of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023,” without providing further clarification. “A new host will be announced as soon as possible, with the dates of the tournament currently remaining unchanged.”

According to the statement, the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) could also face sanctions.

From May 20 to June 11, six Indonesian cities would host 24 teams competing in the youth tournament. Israel is the first nation to qualify.

According to the Football Association of Indonesia, FIFA’s decision was prompted by a regional Indonesian leader’s refusal to host matches if Israel participated.

Arya, a representative of the Football Association of Indonesia, stated that Wayan Koster, the governor of the resort island of Bali, had sent a letter to the sports ministry of Indonesia requesting that Israel be banned from competing in the province.

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The tournament’s official draw was supposed to take place this week in Bali, but it was canceled.

In spite of the fact that soccer is very popular in Indonesia, leagues have been plagued by violence and poor management for decades.

The country is still recovering from one of the deadliest stadium disasters in history, which occurred in October at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java. At least 135 people were killed in the incident, and over 300 others were injured.

It was a significant step for Indonesian soccer to acquire the right to host the U-20 World Cup, and the country’s reputation in the sport may suffer as a result.

However, Indonesia, a nation of more than 270 million people majority Muslim, has no formal diplomatic ties to Israel and supports the Palestinian cause.

Conservative Muslims in Indonesia harbor a strong anti-Israel sentiment, and earlier this month, protesters marched through Jakarta, the capital, to demand that the government prohibit Israel from participating in the tournament.

According to the state news agency Antara, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo made an appeal to the general public in a televised address on Monday, March 27, reiterating Indonesia’s support for the Palestinians while also stressing that the nation must adhere to FIFA regulations.

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He reportedly advised, “Do not link sports issues with political affairs.”

Erick Thohir, president of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI), claimed that on Wednesday, he presented Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, with a letter from the president of Indonesia.

“I have tried my best. We must accept FIFA’s decision to cancel the holding of the event that we are both looking forward to,” Thohir said in the statement. “Because we are members and FIFA considers that the current situation cannot be continued, we must submit.”

Indonesia needs to demonstrate to FIFA that it will “work harder to transform football (and) toward clean football and achievements,” according to Thohir, a former owner and chairman of Inter Milan in Italy.

The official with the Indonesian football association, Arya, stated that the soccer community in the Southeast Asian nation was “very disappointed” with the decision and that officials were urging FIFA not to impose any additional sanctions.

He stated,

“The worst sanction that Indonesia can receive is the banning of the Indonesian national team from competing internationally and the non-recognition of the Indonesia football league,”

FIFA said it will keep on working with Indonesia and the PSSI “in the change cycle of Indonesian football following the misfortune that happened in October 2022,” alluding toward the East Java stadium calamity.

According to the statement, “a new meeting between the FIFA president and the PSSI president for further discussions will be scheduled shortly.”

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