FIFA cancels U-20 World Cup draw in Indonesia after dispute with Israel

The International Football Federation (FIFA) canceled the U-20 World Cup draw to be held on the Indonesian island of Bali on March 31 after the controversy over the rejection expressed in the country against Israel, reported the Indonesian soccer federation.

The Indonesian federation reported a statement that has not received an official reason for the cancellationbut linked the move to a letter from Bali Governor Wayan Koster, who called for Israel’s veto of the competition on the island.

The U-20 World Cup is scheduled to is held between May 20 and June 11 in various cities on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali.

On March 14, Koster sent a letter to the Indonesian Government to ask that the participation of the Israeli team be vetoed, alleging that “Israel’s policies towards Palestine are inconsistent with the policies of the Republic of Indonesia”, a defender of the Palestinian cause.

The president of the Indonesian federation, Arya Sinulingga, indicated that he is coordinating a solution with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, while warned of the consequences of canceling the celebration of the World Cup.

Thus, the federation warned that Indonesia may not be able to hope to host another FIFA World Cup and even some Indonesian soccer categories could be banned in some competitions.

Indonesia, the world’s most Muslim country, and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have presented its candidacy to host the 2034 World Cup.

In addition to the regional head of Bali, the Governor of Central Java, Ganjar Pranowo, has also called for Israel’s veto, while on March 20, dozens of Muslims marched in Jakarta to protest against the participation of their team in the competition.

Despite negative reactions to the presence of the Israeli team, the Indonesian government, a staunch supporter of the Palestinians and which has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel, said that will not prevent the country from participating in the tournament but he assured that he will maintain his “consistent” position regarding the Palestinian conflict.

About 87 percent of the more than 273 million Indonesians practice Islam, mostly moderately, though there are significant minorities of other religions like in Bali, which is mostly Hindu.