Thursday 30 November 2023

After Jakarta’s refusal to host Israel, FIFA transfers championship to Argentina

The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) has chosen Argentina to host the U-20 World Cup, after stripping Indonesia of its right to stage the tournament due to its refusal to host the Israeli team.

While several cities in Indonesia were scheduled to host the Under-20 World Cup, FIFA announced on Monday the transfer of the World youth championship to Argentina, which was originally scheduled for May 20 to June 11.


Following a meeting of its council office, FIFA said that the championship will bring together 24 teams, adding that “Argentina will replace Indonesia as the host country.”


In a statement on March 29, FIFA said it decided to “remove Indonesia as the host of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023” following a meeting between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and President of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) Erick Thohir.


The statement said the decision was made “due to current circumstances” but did not provide any further details.


The decision came as FIFA canceled the draw event which was set to be held in Bali amid protests in the Muslim-majority country against hosting an Israeli team. Support for the Palestinian cause runs deep in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.


Bali island governor Wayan Koster had reportedly refused to host the Israeli team for the draw ceremony. According to media reports, he called on the Indonesian Ministry of Youth and Sports to “adopt a policy forbidding the Israeli team from competing in Bali.”


In its statement back then, FIFA said, “Potential sanctions against the PSSI may also be decided at a later stage.”


Several Muslim-majority countries have in the past refused to host Israeli athletes and many Muslim athletes have refused to compete against Israeli opponents as an expression of support and solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.


Pulling out of matches against Israeli opponents has come at the cost of athletes losing their lifetime dreams, when they are sometimes minutes away from achieving them. However, the athletes do not regret their decision, as they regard it as a win for a bigger cause and a big win for Palestine.


The boycotting of Israel in athletics has gained momentum in recent years despite the regime’s incessant attempts to silence any form of opposition to its crimes as anti-Semitism.





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