The decision to withdraw Indonesia as hosts of the May 20-June 11 tournament was taken after its football federation (PSSI) announced it had canceled the draw after the island’s governor widely Balinese Hindu refused to host the Israel team.
“FIFA has decided, due to current circumstances, to withdraw Indonesia as hosts of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023,” read a FIFA statement.
“A new host will be announced as soon as possible, with tournament dates currently remaining unchanged. Potential sanctions against the PSSI may also be decided at a later date.”
FIFA added that the decision was taken following a meeting between the president of world football’s governing body, Gianni Infantino, and the president of the PSSI, Erick Thohir.
PSSI officials did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
Earlier this month, protesters marched through the capital Jakarta waving Indonesian and Palestinian flags and demanding that Israel not be allowed to participate.
The Indonesian population is predominantly Muslim. Most Indonesian Muslims practice a moderate version of Islam, but there has been a rise in religious conservatism in recent years that has crept into politics.
Earlier this week, the PSSI said the loss of hosting rights would hurt the chances of Indonesian football teams to participate in other FIFA tournaments, while the economic losses would amount to “billions of rupees “.
On Wednesday, FIFA said it had pledged to help the PSSI following a deadly stampede last year that left 135 spectators dead at a stadium in East Java in October.
“The FIFA team members 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 the statement.
“A further meeting between the FIFA President and the PSSI President for further discussions will be scheduled soon.”
As hosts, Indonesia automatically qualified for the Under-20 World Cup, but they haven’t played in the tournament since 1979.