World Cup U-20: Draw Postponed amid Protest Against Israel Participation

Aulia Hafisa
PSSI executive committee member Arya Sinulingga (right) answers reporters' questions at a press conference at the GBK Arena [Antara/Rauf Adipati]
PSSI executive committee member Arya Sinulingga (right) answers reporters' questions at a press conference at the GBK Arena [Antara/Rauf Adipati] - The draw for U-20 FIFA World Cup scheduled in Bali on Friday  (3/28) will be postponed after the Governor refused to host Israel's team. The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) said the draw had been canceled by FIFA, saying they were still conducting checks on tournament readiness. 

Earlier this month, Bali's governor Wayan Koster had written to the Ministry of Youth and Sports imploring them to "adopt a policy forbidding the Israeli team from competing in Bali" due to the conflict with Palestine.

"Previously, Bali governor Wayan Koster rejected the presence of Israeli team in the FIFA U-20 World Cup event... this can be a reason for FIFA to cancel the world cup draw," the PSSI said in a statement.

Besides Bali's Governor, another governor from Central Java Province, Ganjar Pranowo, also rejected the presence of the Israeli team in Indonesia's world cup this year, saying the team was not going to be welcomed to play in Central Java's Manahan Stadium, one of the U-20 World Cup venue. 

Earlier this month, protesters marched in the Capital Jakarta waving Indonesian and Palestinian flags while demanding the ban on Israel's participation in the Indonesian World Cup.

Indonesia's population is predominantly Muslim. Most Indonesian Muslims practice a moderate version of Islam, but in recent years there has been a massive rise in religious conservatism that has crept into politics.

The FIFA world cup is slated to kick off on May 20 to June 11 after years of preparation. However, the sudden situation may cause the dream tournament to slip out of its grasp after Israel qualified for the final rounds.

If Indonesia loses hosting rights as a result, PSSI Executive Committee member Arya Sinulingga said he was worried about FIFA sanctions could isolate Indonesian football from the world. He hoped for a solution where politics could be separated from the sport.

The tournament is very important for the country considering Indonesia is also trying to rebuild its football reputation after the deadly stampede last year that kill 135 spectators at Kanjuruhan stadium, in East Java Province. 

Tag # world cup # u-20 world cup # u20 world cup # indonesia world cup # pssi # world cup draw posponed # fifa # ganjar pranowo # wayan koster # football

Latest news

Top Headlines