Malaysia has given up its rights to host the 2017 FIFA Congress quoting “security issues” because in order to host the event they would have to issue visas to Israeli delegates and display the Israeli flag.

Afandi Hamzah, the Deputy President of the Football Association of Malaysia told AFP: “We were advised by the government to withdraw from hosting the congress due to security issues.”

Those “security issues” could be what Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi said over the weekend when he expressed that it was best for his country not to host the event because of “the risks involved in allowing certain countries to attend the event”.

“Some of the conditions [of hosting the event] include placing the [Israeli] flag on the table during the congress, so we understand the sensitivity of the people in the country,” Zahid said. “After comparing the benefits and the risks, it is better for Malaysia to avoid playing host,” he told reporters.

Despite these claims by the Malaysian officials, FourFourTwo is speculating that it could in fact have been FIFA who took the event away from Malaysia.

This is not the first time Malaysia has wrongly discriminated against Israelis. Earlier this year World Sailing condemned Malaysia who barred Israelis athletes from the Youth World Sailing Championships that Malaysia was hosting. This act forced Israeli athletes Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan, who had both won gold medals the previous year, to withdraw from the competition, stopping them from defending their titles.

Malaysia was scheduled to have hosted the 67th Fifa Congress in Kuala Lumpur on 11 and 12 May 2017. Moscow will host the 68th congress on 12 and 13 June 2018.