Bali governor asks sports minster to ban "Israel" from U-20 World Cup
The motivation for such a decision is based on the respect the Governor holds for Indonesia’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Bali's provincial governor Wayan Koster has reportedly requested Indonesia's Sports Minister Zainudin Amali to ban "Israel's" participation in the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup which will be taking place on the island this year.
"[There is no] diplomatic relationship between the Indonesian government and the Israeli government. [...] We request the Minister adopt a policy forbidding the Israeli team from competing in Bali," Wayan wrote in a letter dated March 14, cited by The Jakarta Post.
The motivation for such a decision is based on the respect the Governor holds for Indonesia’s position on the "Israeli-Palestinian issue", reports say.
Several copies of the letter were sent to the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) and the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs.
The FIFA U-20 World Cup is a football world championship organized by FIFA for players under the age of 20.
FIFA U-20 World Cup is an international football tournament for players under the age of 20. The games are scheduled to be held in Bali from May 20 to June 11.
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On March 20, dozens of Indonesians marched in the country's capital, Jakarta, to protest the Israeli occupation's participation in the FIFA World Cup Under-20.
After a two-year delay due to COVID-19 restrictions, a total of 23 countries and "Israel" are participating in the championship.
Indonesia does not have formal diplomatic relations with the Israeli occupation and is a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause. However, officials say the government will not prevent “Israel” from taking part in the tournament.
Waving Indonesian and Palestinian flags, more than 100 demonstrators gathered in a thoroughfare in downtown Jakarta, calling for the Israeli athletes to be denied a spot in the coming championship.
"Israel’s long history of oppression against the Palestinian people motivates us to strongly reject Israel’s presence in any form in Indonesia," one protester pointed out, as quoted by the Associated Press.
On his part, Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson, Teuku Faizasyah, claimed that the world football governing body FIFA is the only side that decides on the participation of all teams and the rules of the game at the U-20 championship.
"Despite Indonesia’s position as the U-20 host, our country’s consistent stance on Palestine will not waver, not even a little," he told a news briefing.
Dozens of #Indonesians took to the streets in the country's capital to protest "Israel's" participation in the #FIFA World Cup U-20. Officials said they will not prevent "Israel" from participating despite them not having formal diplomatic relations with the Israeli occupation. pic.twitter.com/dlNRAoywTj— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) March 21, 2023
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