World football governing body FIFA on Wednesday announced it has decided to remove Indonesia as hosts of the 2023 FIFA Under-20 World Cup earlier slated for May 20 to June 11.
This emerged after a meeting on Wednesday between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and President of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI), Erick Thohir.
A statement released after the meeting also indicated that a new host country would be announced as soon as possible, with the dates of the tournament currently remaining unchanged.
It added that potential sanctions against the PSSI might also be decided at a later stage.
“FIFA will like to underline that in spite of this decision, it remains committed to actively assisting the PSSI, in close cooperation and with the support of the Indonesian government of President Joko Widodo, in the transformation process of Indonesian football following the tragedy that occurred in October 2022.
“Members of the FIFA team will continue to be present in Indonesia in the coming months and will provide the required assistance to the PSSI, under the leadership of President Thohir,” the statement further said.
It added that a new meeting between the FIFA President and the PSSI President for further discussions would be scheduled shortly.
BRANDPOWER reports that the decision to remove Indonesia as tournament hosts was taken after PSSI cancelled last Friday’s draw for the competition.
This was after the governor of Bali refused to host the Israel team following anti-Israel protests.
A few weeks ago, protesters marched in Jakarta waving Indonesian and Palestinian flags and demanding that Israel should not be allowed to participate.
While Indonesia’s population is predominantly Muslim, most Indonesian Muslims practise a moderate version of Islam.
However, there has been an upward surge in religious conservatism in recent years which has crept into politics.
The PSSI had earlier this week said losing hosting rights would harm Indonesian football teams’ chances of taking part in other FIFA tournaments.
It had pointed out that the economic losses would be enormous.