Dual national Leeds United man's World Cup appearance at risk after political dispute
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The competition is due to take place in the predominantly Muslim nation Indonesia between May and June 2023, however the Group Stage draw has been postponed after a dispute was raised by politician Wayan Koster.
Koster, the Balinese Governor, has refused to host the Israeli team, leading to the postponement of the draw which was initially scheduled for this week.
Reuters report ‘Koster has written to the Ministry of Youth and Sports imploring them to "adopt a policy forbidding the Israeli team from competing in Bali" due to the conflict with Palestine.’
"Previously, Bali governor Wayan Koster rejected the presence of the Israeli national team in the FIFA U-20 World Cup event,” the PSSI [Indonesian Football Association] added in a statement. "This can be a reason for FIFA to cancel the U-20 World Cup draw."
If FIFA choose to strip Indonesia of hosting duties due to the ongoing dispute, it is likely the tournament will be awarded to another host nation at short notice.
This year’s competition is Indonesia’s first appearance at the finals since 1979 and will be Israel’s Under-20 World Cup bow after reaching the Under-19 European Championships Final last summer.
England defeated Israel in that encounter, lifting the Under-19 Euros title and qualifying for this year’s Under-20 World Cup in the process.
Spain-born Leeds attacker Mateo Joseph made his youth international debut for the Young Lions this month, scoring twice on his first start in a 4-2 win over the United States.
Joseph qualifies to represent Ian Foster’s Under-20 side through his father and speaks English fluently despite growing up in the country of his birth.
The Leeds teenager’s inclusion in this month’s international camp means it is probable Joseph will be called up to represent England at the World Cup in May, meaning he would likely miss the Whites’ final few matches of the Premier League season.
Joseph has scored 18 goals in 21 youth level appearances for club and country during 2022/23.