By Landing Ceesay
The World Football Governing body FIFA has removed Indonesia as the host of the U20 World Cup amid the country’s fracas with Israel.
“Following today’s meeting between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and President of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) Erick Thohir, FIFA has decided, due to the current circumstances, to remove Indonesia as the host of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023™. A new host will be announced as soon as possible, with the dates of the tournament currently remaining unchanged. Potential sanctions against the PSSI may also be decided at a later stage.
“FIFA would like to underline that despite this decision, it remains committed to actively assisting the PSSI, in close cooperation and with the support of the government of President 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,” FIFA said in a statement.
The World Football governing body said a new meeting between the FIFA President and the PSSI President for further discussions will be scheduled shortly.
FIFA made the decision barely a week after local media houses in Indonesia reported that the governor of Bali called for the outright exclusion of Israel from the competition.
Indonesia, a Muslim country, does not recognize Israel due to its occupation of Palestine.
According to local media outlets in Indonesia, the hotels in the country do not wish to accommodate the Israeli U20 national team.
Rumors are suggesting that Qatar is ready to replace Indonesia to host the 2023 U20 World Cup.
It could be recalled that the Gambia U20 qualified for the U20 World Cup after finishing 2nd in the just concluded U20 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Coach Abdoulie Bojang and his boys are currently preparing for the World Cup in Indonesia. But as things stand, the Gambia U20 would have to continue their preparation and wait for FIFA’s next decision about the World Cup.