Tears, anger as Indonesian soccer fears FIFA sanctions
March 30, 2023 -JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian soccer players and fans reacted with tears and outrage after the country was stripped of hosting rights for the Under-20 World Cup only eight weeks before the start of the tournament amid political turmoil over Israel’s participation, leaving Indonesian soccer at risk of further sanctions.
The youth soccer event was expected to be a rare turn on the global soccer stage for a country that hasn’t been to the World Cup since winning independence. But it was officially canceled Wednesday after two regional governors said they would not allow an Israeli team to play in their territories.
FIFA said Indonesia was removed from staging the 24-team tournament scheduled to start on May 20 “due to the current circumstances,” without specifying details.
In an emotional meeting with Indonesian youth players and their coach in Jakarta on Thursday, Zainudin Amali, deputy chair of the national soccer association, apologized. Some players were seen shedding tears while others looked down sadly.