Football: FIFA strips Indonesia of U20 World Cup after refusing to host Israel

Indonesia has been stripped of the right to host the U20 Football World Cup.

The decision to remove Indonesia as host of the May 20-June 11 tournament was taken, after its football federation (PSSI) cancelled the draw, when the governor of the largely Hindu island of Bali refused to host Israel's team.

"FIFA has decided, due to the current circumstances, to remove Indonesia as the host of the FIFA U20 World Cup 2023," said FIFA.

"A new host will be announced as soon as possible, with the dates of the tournament currently remaining unchanged. Potential sanctions against the PSSI may also be decided at a later stage."

FIFA adds that the decision has been taken after a meeting between the world soccer governing body's president Gianni Infantino and PSSI chairman Erick Thohir. PSSI officials did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

Earlier this month, protesters marched in the capital Jakarta, waving Indonesian and Palestinian flags, and demanding Israel not be allowed to participate.

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

The PSSI says losing hosting rights will harm Indonesian football teams' chances of taking part in other FIFA tournaments, while the economic losses would amount to "trillions of rupiah".

FIFA says it is committed to aiding the PSSI, after a deadly stampede that led to the deaths of 135 spectators at a stadium in East Java last October.

"Members of the FIFA team will continue to be present in Indonesia in the coming months and will provide the required assistance to the PSSI, under the leadership of President Thohir," FIFA said.

"A new meeting between the FIFA president and the PSSI president for further discussions will be scheduled shortly."

As host, Indonesia automatically qualified for the U20 World Cup, but it has not played in the tournament since 1979.