FIFA deprives Indonesia of U-20 Men’s World Cup host status
    ... due to protest to Israel's participation

    WORLD  30 March 2023 - 17:11

    Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has stripped Indonesia of its right to host the Under-20 Men’s World Cup later this year after an Indonesian official objected to the participation of Israel.

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

    The statement said sanctions against the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) were also possible.

    A total of 24 teams were scheduled to play in the youth tournament across six Indonesian cities from May 20 to June 11. Israel has qualified for the first time.

    Arya Sinulingga, a member of the PSSI executive committee, told CNN on March 30 that FIFA’s decision stemmed from the refusal by one regional Indonesian leader to host matches if Israel took part.

    Wayan Koster, governor of the resort island of Bali, had sent a letter to Indonesia’s sports ministry requesting Israel be banned from competing in the province, Arya said.

    “The governor of Bali also stated in the letter that the provincial government of Bali refused (to allow) the Israeli team to compete in Bali,” he added.

    CNN has reached out to the Bali governor for comment but has not received a response.

    The official draw for the tournament was scheduled to take place in Bali this week but was cancelled.

    Soccer is hugely popular in Indonesia, but violence and mismanagement have plagued its leagues for decades. The country is still reeling from one of the world’s deadliest stadium disasters, in which at least 135 people were killed and more than 300 others injured at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, in October.

    Gaining the hosting rights to the U-20 World Cup had been a significant step for Indonesian soccer and losing the tournament threatens to damage the country’s reputation within the sport.

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