FIFA, the world’s governing body of football, has released a statement to remove Indonesia from hosting the U-20 World Cup 2023. The decision comes after FIFA President Gianni Infantino and President of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) Erick Thohir met on March 29.
The statement from FIFA mentioned that the call has been taken “due to current circumstances” without indicating the exact details, but it’s presumed that the tensions between Indonesia and Israel could be a major contributing factor. Furthermore, the FIFA statement added, “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.”
Indonesia, a muslim majority nation, has been a supporter of the Palestinian cause and doesn’t maintain formal diplomatic relations with Israel. Also, there have been calls from the Governor of Bali to remove Israel from the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 and frequent demonstrative protests in Indonesia regarding its participation in the tournament recently.
Eric Thohir, the President of PSSI also opened up after talks with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, “I have tried my best. After delivering a letter from President Jokowi (Indonesia’s current head of state), and talking at length with the President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, we must accept FIFA's decision to cancel the holding of the event that we were both looking forward to," he added.
Meanwhile, FIFA had earlier cancelled the event scheduled in Bali to conduct the tournament draw without giving any reason or rescheduling it at a later date.