Home » Hostility to Israel in Indonesia – withdrawal of the U20 World Cup possible

Hostility to Israel in Indonesia – withdrawal of the U20 World Cup possible

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Hostility to Israel in Indonesia – withdrawal of the U20 World Cup possible

Status: 03/27/2023 11:55 a.m

The U20 World Cup is scheduled to start in Indonesia in May. But anti-Semitism in the country with the largest Muslim population could call FIFA into action. Apparently the draw has already been postponed.

The website of the Indonesian Football Association states that the draw planned for Friday (March 31, 2023) has been cancelled. A spokeswoman for the Slovakian association told the sports show that they had been informed as participants and therefore did not fly to Indonesia on Friday. At the world association FIFA, which has not yet commented on a request, March 31st is still noted as the day for the draw on the homepage.

The U20 men’s world championship is scheduled to start on May 20th and end with the final on June 11th. Six venues are planned for the tournament with 24 teams, one of which is in Bali. However, the governor of the island, Wayan Koster, announced in a letter to the Indonesian association and the government that he would not receive the Israeli team. As a reason he cited solidarity with Palestine, which has been in a violent conflict with Israel for decades.

The Israel Football Association did not respond to a request from the sports show by Monday afternoon (03/27/2023). Germany is not qualified for the tournament.

Protests in Jakarta

About 230 of the 270 million inhabitants of Indonesia are of Muslim faith. The country in Southeast Asia, which consists of thousands of islands, is the world‘s largest Muslim population.

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On March 20, protests broke out in the capital Jakarta against the participation of Israel, which qualified for the U20 World Cup for the first time. Media reports that only about 100 people took part in the anti-Israel demonstration, although general support is said to be high. Indonesia and Israel do not maintain diplomatic relations.

FIFA against political interference

However, the reports also indicate that the Indonesian government is willing to fulfill the security guarantee for all participating countries. There should be ongoing talks to come to a solution that will give Indonesia the right to hold the event.

FIFA forbids political interference and has often sanctioned this in the past by suspending the national associations. In the present case, it would also be possible to withdraw the tournament, but given the pressing time, it would probably have to be postponed.

The tournament in Indonesia was already in danger in autumn 2022. This was due to a stampede that left more than 130 dead in the city of Malang. However, FIFA decided to keep the host.

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