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FIFA removes Indonesia, which banned Israel, as youth soccer tournament host

The most populous Muslim country also risks disqualification from the 2026 World Cup.

Professional soccer. Credit: Pixabay.
Professional soccer. Credit: Pixabay.

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) removed Indonesia on Wednesday as host of the under-20 U-20 World Cup soccer tournament, previously slated to take place from May 20 to June 11 in Bali, Indonesia. It is unknown where the event will now take place, reported the Associated Press.

FIFA officials cited “current circumstances” without specifying details, the AP reported. “A new host will be announced as soon as possible, with the dates of the tournament currently remaining unchanged,” they said.

The decision comes after Bali Governor Wayan Koster and Ganjar Pranowo, governor of Central Java, demanded that Israel be excluded. The latter is the front-runner for Indonesia’s presidential election.

This was to be Israel’s first time participating in the competition.

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, has a provision in its constitution calling for the abolishment of colonialism. As such, Indonesian officials have apparently interpreted that as a reason to oppose Israel.

A 2017 BBC poll found that only 9% of Indonesians saw Israel’s influence as “mainly positive,” compared to 64% that viewed it as “mainly negative.” (Pakistanis had slightly more positive views of Israel, according to that poll.)

The AP reported on Sunday that FIFA also canceled a first step towards Indonesia’s qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

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