FIFA removed Indonesia from the host nation after Bali refused to host Israel in the tournament’s draw; A new host will be announced soon.
Indonesia has been denied the right to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA said in a statement, after protests against Israel’s participation led to the cancellation of the tournament’s main draw.
World football’s governing body announced its decision on Wednesday, following a meeting with the President of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI), Erik Thuhir, and said a new host nation would be announced “as soon as possible” with the tournament kicking off on May 20.
PSSI canceled the draw for the tournament on Sunday, after the ruler of the Hindu-majority island of Bali refused to host the Israeli national team.
FIFA removes Indonesia from hosting the FIFA U-20 World Cup™ 2023
– FIFA Media (fifamedia) March 29, 2023
Indonesia is the most populous Muslim-majority country that has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel, while publicly supporting the Palestinian cause.
“FIFA has decided, due to the current circumstances, to remove Indonesia from hosting the 2023 U-20 World Cup,” a statement from FIFA said.
A new host will be announced as soon as possible, with tournament dates currently remaining unchanged. Possible sanctions against PSSI may also be determined at a later stage.”
And earlier this month, protesters took to the capital, Jakarta, waving the Indonesian and Palestinian flags, demanding that Israel not be allowed to participate.
“Indonesia is a member of FIFA, so in any matters of international football we have to abide by the rules,” Thohir said in a statement on the PSSI website.
“I ask all football fans to hold their heads up high about this difficult decision by FIFA. It is time for us to prove to FIFA that it is working even harder to transform football towards clean, high-achieving football.”
Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday spoke out against mixing “sports and politics”.
“I hereby guarantee that Israel’s participation has nothing to do with the consistency of our foreign policy stance towards Palestine, because our support for Palestine is always strong and strong,” he said in a speech broadcast live.
Economic loss and fear of sanctions
PSSI said the loss of hosting rights would hurt the chances of Indonesian football teams to participate in other FIFA tournaments, while the economic losses would run into “trillions of rupiahs”.
The Indonesian Football Association could be subject to further discipline by FIFA. The ban could see Indonesia knocked out of the Asian qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, which begin in October.
FIFA and the public authorities in Indonesia agreed FIFA’s hosting requirements in 2019 prior to being selected to host the 2021 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The coronavirus pandemic forced the tournament to be postponed by two years.
As hosts, Indonesia automatically qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, but had not played in the tournament since 1979.
Israel qualified for its first FIFA U-20 World Cup in June.
It was not clear who could now host the tournament, which was to be held at six stadiums in Indonesia.
Reportedly, Argentina, who did not qualify for the tournament, are interested in hosting.
FIFA said it was committed to helping PSSI following a deadly stampede last year that killed 135 spectators at a stadium in East Java in October.
“Members of the FIFA Team will continue to be present in Indonesia in the coming months and will provide the required assistance to PSSI under the leadership of President Thohir,” FIFA said in the statement.
A new meeting between the President of FIFA and the President of PSSI for further discussions will be scheduled soon.
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