FIFA has stripped Indonesia of the right to host the Under-20 World Cup tournament over Jakarta’s refusal to host Israel’s national team. Football’s world governing body announced its decision after a meeting between the chairman of the Indonesian Football Federation (PSSI), Erick Thohir, and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
The 24-team competition was to take place across six Indonesian cities between 20 May and 11 June. Israel was to be the first in the competition.
“FIFA has decided, due to the current circumstances, to remove Indonesia as the host of the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup,” the international body said. “A new host will be announced as soon as possible, and there will be no change to the tournament dates for now. Possible sanctions against the PSSI may also be decided at a later stage.”
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Argentina and Qatar offered to host the tournament and take Indonesia’s place as part of the team if an agreement was not reached between FIFA and the PSSI. Host countries do not need to qualify to play in FIFA World Cup competitions.
Losing hosting rights is likely to harm Indonesian football teams from participating in other FIFA competitions. An international suspension, for example, could prevent Indonesia from playing the Asian qualifying games for the 2026 World Cup. The qualifying phase begins in October.
“Indonesia is a FIFA member, so for any international football matter, we have to abide by the rules,” Thohir told the PSSI website. “I ask all football lovers to hold their heads high on this tough decision by FIFA. It is time that FIFA worked harder to change football, towards clean and high-achieving football.”
Indonesia has no formal diplomatic ties with Israel. Protesters in solidarity with the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation have demanded that the Israeli team be stopped from competing in the FIFA tournament.
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