March 28, 2023
JAKARTA – Bali Governor I Wayan Koster claimed on Monday that he was not responsible for the suspension of the FIFA U-20 World Cup group stage in Bali, despite having issued a statement against the Israeli national team’s participation.
Koster told reporters that the decision had been imposed by the central government.
“This is not my personal stance. This is also the stance from the government,” Koster said, as quoted by kompas.com.
He was speaking to reporters at the House of Representatives compound in Central Jakarta on Monday.
When asked to elaborate on the country’s apparent refusal to host the Israeli team, Koster responded, “Please ask those who have the authority.”
Over the weekend, world soccer governing body FIFA canceled the tournament’s group stage draw in Bali, scheduled for March 31, only days after Koster, a member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) issued a statement opposing the participation of Israel in the youth soccer competition.
A number of regional leaders of the PDI-P, including Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, have been vocal in their criticism of the Israeli team’s participation in recent days. Analysts believe their statements are intended to curry favor with parts of the party’s base.
The 24-team tournament was scheduled to be held from May 20 to June 11 in six cities in Indonesia, and Israel was set to make its debut in the competition.