ZURICH: FIFA has stripped Indonesia has been stripped of the right to host the U-20 World Cup scheduled to kick off on May 20.
A crisis meeting between FIFA supremo Gianni Infantino and Indonesian FA president Erick Thohir ended with an announcement that a new host would be named “as soon as possible”.
FIFA had been left with no alternative after the PSSI cancelled last Sunday’s draw because the governor of the largely Hindu island of Bali had refused to host Israel’s team.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation and does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, while publicly supporting the Palestinian cause.
A FIFA statement said: “FIFA has decided, due to the current circumstances, to remove Indonesia as the host of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023. A new host will be announced as soon as possible, with the dates of the tournament currently remaining unchanged. Potential sanctions against the PSSI may also be decided at a later stage.”
Earlier this month, protesters marched in the capital Jakarta waving Indonesian and Palestinian flags and demanding Israel not be allowed to participate.
Thohir said: “Indonesia is a FIFA member, so for any international soccer matters, we have to abide by the rules.”
FIFA and public authorities in Indonesia agreed to FIFA’s hosting requirements in 2019 before being selected to stage the 2021 edition of the Under-20 World Cup. The coronavirus pandemic forced the tournament to be postponed for two years.
As host, Indonesia automatically qualified for the Under-20 World Cup, but it has not played in the tournament since 1979.
Israel had qualified in June last year for their first Under-20 World Cup.