Argentina hopeful to host U-20 WCup in place of Indonesia

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks during a joint press conference with CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez at CONMEBOL headquarters in Luque, Paraguay, Thursday, March 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

LUQUE, Paraguay (AP) — Argentina is capable of hosting the Under-20 World Cup in place of Indonesia, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said Thursday though no decision has been announced yet.

Indonesia was stripped of hosting rights only eight weeks before the start of the tournament amid political turmoil over Israel’s participation.

A new host will be announced within days, Infantino said at a press conference at the headquarters of South American soccer body CONMEBOL.

“We all know soccer in Argentina and it is a country that surely can host a competition of this level,” Infantino said. “With the tradition of soccer in Argentina there are very good possibilities.”

Earlier, he had received an offer from Argentina’s soccer association to step in as host. Argentina’s U-20 team failed to qualify for the tournament.

Infantino said the decision “will be made within two or three days” and it will be evaluated by all presidents of soccer confederations.

FIFA said Indonesia was removed from staging the 24-team tournament scheduled to start on May 20 “due to the current circumstances,” without specifying details. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation and does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel.