The Federation of International Football, FIFA, has stripped Indonesia of the hosting rights for the 2022 Men’s U-20 World Cup.
The world football governing body clashed with Indonesia Football Federation, PSSI, after the latter reneged on its commitment before being awarded the right to host the tournament by FIFA.
According to ESPN, FIFA decided to strip the Asian country of the hosting rights for the tournament after an Indonesian football official admitted their inability to keep to the terms of the agreement with FIFA before winning the hosting right.
The report added that the Indonesia Football Federation, PSSI, erred when they decided to cancel the draws of the tournament because the governor of Bali, a province dominated by conservative Hindus, was not ready to welcome Israel’s contingent to play their group games in the region.
Diplomatic ties between Israel and Indonesia has never been smooth as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict intensifies.
Indonesia is largely Muslim with only a tiny percentage of Christians and the tensions between Israel and Palestine has been largely a religious conflict.
As tempers between the two territories boil, there have been reports, extremely conservative forces have tightened their grip on Indonesian polity.
The rejection of the Israeli contingent to play in Bali is an inkling of the prevalent religious prejudice against the Israelis.
Nevertheless, what seems to be quite disturbing is the response of the Indonesia Football Federation, PSSI.
The body seems toothless reining in the wild prejudices and has hitherto contravened FIFA’s core objective of football inclusion.
FIFA announced in a statement they have stripped Indonesia of the rights to host the tournament after they reneged on their agreement and refuse to host an Israeli contingent to the tournament.
FIFA statement confirmed the decision to remove Indonesia as the host of the tournament while adding a new host will be announced soon.
“FIFA has decided, due to the current circumstances, to remove Indonesia as the host of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023.”
They also added the tournament will go on as scheduled but the PSSI will be made to face sanctions by the football governing body.
“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 statement reads.
There are reports that there are grave consequences both for PSSI and Indonesia for the reversal of the hosting rights by FIFA.
Some reports say the country will incur losses running into millions of rupiah while the PSSI faces sanction for an apparent aberration.
The tournament will kick off on May 20 and run till June 11 and the world’s football governing body has confirmed there are no changes to the date despite the temporary setback.
The announcement of the reversal of Indonesia’s hosting rights for the 2022 Men’s World Cup is said to have been finalized after FIFA President Gianni Infantino met with PSSI president Erick Thohir
Indonesia Football Federation reacts
Erick Thohir confirmed the decision by FIFA to strip the country of the hosting rights for the tournament is a tough one to bear but he added the PSSI is a FIFA member, circumscribed by the rules of FIFA.
However, he seemed to challenge FIFA on its failed attempt to globalize the game and merge global polarities.
“Indonesia is a FIFA member, so for any international soccer matters, we have to abide by the rules”, he said.
“I ask all football lovers to keep their heads held high over this tough decision by FIFA. It’s time we proved to FIFA to work harder to transform soccer, towards clean and high-achieving soccer”.
Before FIFA’s decision on the hosting rights, thousands of Indonesian fans reportedly marched through Jakarta.
They reportedly waved Palestinian and Indonesian flags asking Israel not to be allowed to take part in the game due to the hostile diplomatic relations between the two countries in the wake of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.