FIFA, football’s global governing body, has stripped Indonesia of hosting rights for this year’s U20 World Cup, with a new host set to be announced as soon as possible.
An announcement was made following a meeting between FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) president Erick Thohir.
FIFA said the decision was taken due to the “current circumstances” but did not go into details. The draw for the U20 World Cup had been due to take place in Bali last Friday but it was cancelled after the province’s governor Wayan Koster refused to host the Israeli team, which has qualified for the tournament.
Indonesia does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel and has expressed public support for the Palestinian cause. Regional officials are said to have expressed opposition at Israel’s participation in the tournament. It has been reported that Argentina has offered to stage the event.
Indonesia had been due to host the tournament from May 20 to June 11 and FIFA said the dates for the event currently remain unchanged. FIFA added that potential sanctions against the PSSI may also be decided at a later stage.
FIFA said that it remains committed to actively assisting the PSSI despite the decision to remove the U20 World Cup from Indonesia. The two governing bodies have been working together to reform Indonesian football after a stadium disaster led to the deaths of 135 people in October last year.
Members of the FIFA team will continue to be present in Indonesia in the coming months and will provide assistance to the PSSI. With the support of FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation, the PSSI set up a taskforce to increase public security capacity following the disaster.
Earlier this month, a police official was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in the stadium disaster, but the acquittal of two others sparked uproar. The disaster occurred during a stampede at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang on October 1.
The stampede occurred as football fans invaded the pitch before being met with tear gas from police, with the ensuing panic leading to fans rushing towards the stadium’s exits, causing the crush.
The sentencing of the police official came after two football officials were earlier handed prison sentences for their role in the disaster.