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Events

Argentina steps in to host U20 World Cup

Featured image credit: Jimmy Baikovicius/CC BY-SA 2.0/Edited for size

Featured image credit: Jimmy Baikovicius/CC BY-SA 2.0/Edited for size

FIFA has confirmed that Argentina will host this year’s U20 World Cup after the event was removed from Indonesia last month.

The tournament will take place from May 20 to June 11, with the official draw to be held in Zurich on Friday.

FIFA has signed the hosting agreement with the Argentinian Football Association after a delegation conducted an on-site inspection in the South American country last week. The delegation members visited the proposed tournament venues and associated infrastructure.

Argentina emerged as the frontrunner to stage the event after Indonesia was stripped of hosting rights in March. FIFA said the decision to remove the tournament from Indonesia was taken due to the “current circumstances” but did not go into details.

The draw for Indonesia’s U20 World Cup had been due to take place in Bali 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. FIFA ultimately decided to remove the event from Indonesia, adding that potential sanctions against the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) may be decided at a later stage.

Indonesia had been due to stage the event from May 20 to June 11 and the dates will remain the same when Argentina hosts. Argentina, which last hosted the tournament in 2001, will now compete in this year’s event in place of Indonesia.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “FIFA is delighted to announce that this year’s edition of the FIFA U20 World Cup will take place in Argentina, as the home of the world champions opens its doors to the tomorrow’s superstars of world football.

“I would like to thank the AFA and particularly its president Claudio Tapia, as well as the governmental authorities, for their commitment to hosting this magnificent event at such short notice.”

FIFA said last month 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.