The U-20 World Cup was scheduled to take place from May 20 to June 11 of this year in Indonesia; however, everything has changed with the passing of days. We tell you what has happened with this championship .
LatinAmerican Post | Camilo Parra
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The 23rd edition of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which was to host Indonesia at the end of May, will finally not be played in the Asian country due to political issues. The uncertainty began last Sunday when the Indonesian Football Federation indicated that the draw scheduled on the island of Bali for March 31 was postponed by FIFA.
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Although FIFA did not give an explanation for the cancellation of the draw, the Indonesian Federation linked this decision to a letter from the Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, who a few days ago sent to the Indonesian government asking that Israel, qualified for the World Cup, out of the country and prohibit their participation in the tournament.
In recent days, it became known that FIFA decided to take away the venue for the U-20 World Cup from Indonesia, the organization made it known in a statement. “Following today's meeting between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and his PSSI counterpart Erik Thohir, FIFA has decided to withdraw Indonesia as the host country of the FIFA U-20 World Cup. FIFA 2023 due to the current circumstances. The new host country will be announced as soon as possible, although the tournament dates remain unchanged for now. Possible sanctions for the PSSI will be determined later."
It should be remembered that this championship was scheduled to take place in the cities of Bandung, Gianyar, Palembang, Surabaya, Surakarta and Jakarta, in the latter there were protests last week against Israel's policies.
Indonesia and Israel Conflict
The main reason given by Indonesian politicians is that the country does not share the policies that Israel has taken on Palestine. It should be remembered that the conflict between the two countries is a delicate matter for the country with the largest Muslim population in the world. For these religious, political and traditional reasons, Indonesia has shown its support for Palestine.
The conflict between Israel and Palestine began in the 20th century with the goal of gaining control over Palestinian land. According to the UN, in 2022 violence between the two countries increased, as more than 150 Palestinians and more than 20 Israelis were killed, the highest number of deaths in years. Similarly, at the last UN Security Council, held in December, the coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, expressed his concern about the high levels of violence during protests, clashes and other incidents.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the U-20 Championship, the Indonesian president, Jokow Widodo, reiterated his support for the independence of Palestine and the solution to the conflict between the two countries, but asked that politics not be mixed with soccer. "We agree with the Palestinian ambassador in Indonesia that FIFA has rules that its members must obey. Sports and politics should not be mixed," the Indonesian president said.
The president of the Indonesian Football Federation, Erick Thohir, traveled to Geneva to talk with FIFA to find a solution to holding the U-20 World Cup in Indonesia. This was confirmed by the EFE agency. However, after the meeting established with Gianni Infantino, it was decided that the best thing for the U-20 World Cup is not to be played in this country.
Consequences for Indonesia
Due to the cancellation of the tournament in this country, FIFA could sanction the country for political interventions and failing to comply with the organization's mandate. These could be the possible sanctions against Indonesia:
- Ban on hosting a sporting event organized by FIFA.
- Ban on participating in activities related to the FIFA calendar.
- The National Teams could not participate in international soccer events.
- FIFA would freeze the Indonesian Football Federation.
- Players, coaches, referees, and clubs would lose their livelihoods and Indonesian soccer could be stopped.
Twenty-four teams have qualified for the U-20 World Cup. Indonesia, Uzbekistan, South Korea, Japan, and Iraq will go through the Asian Confederation; the representatives of Africa are Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia ; Fiji and New Zealand qualified in Oceania, while Slovakia, Israel, Italy, France, and England will represent Europe. The American continent, as is public knowledge, is separated by two confederations, Conmebol and Concacaf. On the first, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, and Ecuador are classified, while on the other hand, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, the United States United and Honduras qualified for the tournament.
Finally, after learning of the cancellation of this world championship in Indonesia, according to international media, several countries have appeared that are willing to host the tournament, and they have made this known to Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA. Qatar, the United States, Peru and Argentina are the nations that have expressed the possibility of holding the World Cup.
If the performance is confirmed in countries like Qatar, Peru and Argentina, these countries would automatically be getting a place for this world championship for being the hosts of the competition. In the coming days, it is expected that the world soccer regulatory body will announce a decision on this issue and the new headquarters will be known.