JAKARTA, Indonesia — Uncertainty over the timing and location of the Under-20 World Cup continues two days after Indonesian authorities postponed the official draw for the May 20-June 11 tournament because of protests over Israel’s qualification. The draw, scheduled to held in Bali on Friday, was delayed indefinitely by Indonesia’s soccer federation amid backlash from conservative Islamic groups. Doubt had already been cast on the draw ceremony when the governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, called for a ban on Israel playing there because of Indonesia’s diplomatic support for the Palestinian cause. FIFA, the sport’s world governing body, has not commented on Indonesia’s status as host or a reported offer from Argentina to stage the event, with the trade-off of having an Argentine team in the tournament. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Pressure on Indonesia’s soccer association, the PSSI, and its chairman Erick Thohir is mounting because if local authorities fail to resolve the hosting issues over Israel, the country risks being suspended by FIFA and potentially missing out on Asian qualifying for the 2026 World Cup. Thohir is a former owner of major international teams, including Italian soccer giant Inter Milan and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, and has been Indonesia’s minister of state-owned enterprises since 2019. His sport and political diplomacy skills will be seriously tested.


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