Stadium disaster and political riot; FIFA deprives Indonesia of youth World Cup organization
FIFA has stripped Indonesia of the World Cup for under-20 soccer players. This was done, according to the world soccer federation, because of “current circumstances.” In just under two months, the 2023 edition should begin, but the big question is how and where?
FIFA’s move reportedly has to do with protests over Israel’s participation in the youth World Cup. The draw was canceled Tuesday due to heavy protests. Indonesian and Palestinian flags were waved in the capital Jakarta. People elsewhere in Indonesia also expressed their displeasure.
Support for Palestinians
In Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, there is much support for the Palestinians in the endless conflict with Israel. FIFA does not explicitly cite the protests as the reason, instead it refers to “the tragedy that took place in October 2022,” referring to the stadium disaster late last year in Java.
Riots that erupted after a match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya clubs left at least 135 dead, including 40 children. Most died in the crush as they tried to flee from the stadium after police sprayed with tear gas.
The local police chief acknowledged that mistakes had been made in the police action.
Possibly in Argentina
The World Cup for youth players will be played from May 20 to June 11. Those dates remain unchanged for now. FIFA hopes to announce a new host country soon.
The unqualified Argentina is said to have already applied to take over the tournament, allowing it to still participate as host country through the back door.