FIFA: Indonesia stripped of the right to host the U-20 World Cup

MARCH 30: The decision follows the cancellation of the official draw for the tournament, which was due to take place in Bali last Friday.

The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) said FIFA was forced to cancel the draw after Bali Governor Wayan Koster refused to host the Israeli team.

The U-20 World Cup will take place from May 20 to June 11.

Indonesia has no formal diplomatic ties to Israel and protesters have recently held marches demanding that Israel be prevented from competing in the tournament, in support of Palestine.

Indonesia received hosting rights in 2019, before Israel qualified for the tournament. The England under-20 team is also set to compete.

“FIFA has decided, due to the current circumstances, to remove Indonesia from hosting the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup,” a FIFA statement said.

“A new host will be announced as soon as possible, with the tournament dates currently unchanged. Possible sanctions against PSSI may also be decided at a later stage.”

Half an hour before FIFA’s announcement, PSSI executive committee member Arya Sinulingga said he was “very pessimistic” about Indonesia retaining hosting rights.

“If we make political demands in sport, it will always be that way. We will be exiled from the football ecosystem.

“It’s very hard for all of us. We’re headed for a calamity in sports. We have to separate football or sports and politics.”

‘Fifa needs an alternative pretty quickly’: analysis

FIFA insists that Indonesia was not ready to host the tournament and threatens to take action. However, there was a growing feeling that it had to be moved anyway given the tensions surrounding Israel’s ranking.

Criticism of Israel at home and its policy towards Palestine has been mounting after Bali’s governor said he did not want them to play in his region and Friday’s group stage draw was cancelled.

FIFA knew that any decision to strip Indonesia of hosting rights would be highly controversial, but it also knew that it had to do everything possible to protect players from Israel against potential security threats.

With the 24-team tournament starting on May 20, as Indonesia is no longer competing, FIFA needs to find an alternative rather quickly.

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