After calls for Israel to be banned, the FIFA U-20 World Cup draw for Indonesia was canceled

Officials announced the cancellation of the draw for the men’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Indonesia days after Bali’s governor demanded that Israel be disqualified from the tournament.

Since there are no formal diplomatic ties between the two countries and Palestine is the world’s most populated country with a Muslim majority, there is strong local opposition to hosting the Israeli squad.

FIFA canceled the event without providing a reason or a new date, according to a statement from the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), which will host the 24-nation competition starting in May.

Authorities claimed that the Bali governor Wayan Koster’s plea for Israel to be banned due to its treatment of Palestinians in a letter written to the Ministry of Youth and Sports this month was probably a contributing factor in the draw’s cancellation.

Israel is a participant, and the draw would not be possible without everyone. Requests for comment from FIFA were not answered.

Israel has qualified for the tournament for the first time, and Jakarta has promised to safeguard its participation.
Koster’s opposition has called into question the organizers’ belief that holding Israeli games on Bali, an island with a majority Hindu population, would provide a buffer against local backlash.

This month, some 100 orthodox Muslim protesters marched in Jakarta’s capital to denounce Israel’s role.

Authorities in Jakarta stated that if the issue was not handled, they risked losing the privilege to organize the nation’s first big tournament and being shunned by the international governing body.

The nation is also hosting the competition under the shadow of one of the deadliest stadium catastrophes in sports history, following the 135 fatal stadium stampede in East Java in October.

When FIFA banned the nation from international football in 2015 for a year due to government interference in a domestic association, the authorities have been working to gradually restore the nation’s reputation.

AFP

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