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Global Mar 29, 2023

FIFA removes Indonesia as U-20 World Cup host nation less than 2 months before kickoff

By Quinn Casteel
Managing Editor

FIFA has announced that this year’s U-20 World Cup will no longer be played in Indonesia, amid political protests in the country which oppose Israel’s participation in the event.

Local politicians in Indonesia have been leading anti-Israel activism in the muslim-majority country leading up to the scheduled U-20 World Cup, of which Israel has qualified for the 24-team finals.

Growing political tension in the would-be host nation led to a meeting this week between FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) president Erick Thohir.

Following the meeting, FIFA has released a statement announcing the removal of the U-20 World Cup from Indonesia. A new host for the event has yet to be determined. FIFA still plans to hold the event, which is scheduled for May 20 – June 11, 2023.

The United States is one of four nations that is slated to represent the Concacaf region in the U-20 World Cup. The U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team is currently in the midst of its final training camp and friendlies ahead of the tournament.

See below for FIFA’s full statement:

“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.

A new meeting between the FIFA President and the PSSI President for further discussions will be scheduled shortly.”

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