By: Gyang Dakwo
Indonesia has been stripped of the right to host the under-20 soccer World Cup, global governing body FIFA said on Wednesday.
The decision to remove Indonesia as host of the May 20-June 11 tournament was taken after its football federation (PSSI) said it had cancelled the draw after the governor of the largely Hindu Island of Bali refused to host Israel’s team.
“FIFA has decided, due to the current circumstances, to remove Indonesia as the host of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023,” a FIFA statement said.
“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.”
FIFA added that the decision had been taken following a meeting between the world soccer governing body’s President Gianni Infantino and PSSI Chairman Erick Thohir.
Earlier this month, protesters marched in the capital Jakarta waving Indonesian and Palestinian flags and demanding Israel not be allowed to participate.
The PSSI meanwhile had said losing hosting rights would harm Indonesian football teams’ chances of taking part in other FIFA tournaments, while the economic losses would amount to “trillions of rupiah”.
As host, Indonesia automatically qualified for the Under-20 World Cup, but it has not played in the tournament since 1979.