FIFA removes Indonesia as host of Under-20 World Cup after protests over Israel

FIFA, the world governing body of association football, has removed Indonesia as the host of the upcoming Under-20 World Cup due to protests over the nation's support of Israel.

The decision came after weeks of protests by Indonesian football fans and human rights activists who had called on FIFA to move the tournament from Indonesia in order to show solidarity with Palestinians in the occupied territories.

The tournament, which was scheduled to take place from May 1-16, will now be hosted by Poland.

The protests were sparked by Indonesia's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2018, a move that angered many in the country. Demonstrators called for the tournament to be moved to a location that did not support Israel.

FIFA released a statement saying that it had taken the decision to move the tournament in order to “safeguard the integrity of the competition and the safety of all involved.”

The organization added that it respected the right to freedom of expression, but that it was “not prepared to compromise on the safety of any participants.”

This is not the first time FIFA has been forced to make a decision in response to political pressure. In 2018, FIFA moved the Women's World Cup from Iran to France due to concerns over human rights abuses in the country.

It remains to be seen what effect this decision will have on Indonesia's relationship with FIFA. The country had been hoping to host a major international tournament for the first time since the 2002 Asian Cup.

The Under-20 World Cup will now take place in Poland in May. It is unclear if FIFA will reconsider its decision in the future.