Jakarta. The Indonesian sports agency whose violation of an Olympic trademark almost cost the country its hosting of the 2018 Asian Games has decided to back down from its belligerent stance.
The Indonesian National Sports Committee, or KONI, decided earlier this week to end its use of the Olympics’ “five rings” in its logo, said KONI chairman Tono Suratman.
“Our members have recommended [dropping the rings] and we’ve picked a few candidates to help design the new logo,” Tono said.
“It could be three rings or six rings, as long as it’s not the IOC” — International Olympic Committee — “logo. The colors can be different but the shape stays the same, or the other way around,” he said.
“The most important thing is we’re still committed helping boost the country’s sports development.”
The move comes after a court in Jakarta last month ordered the KONI to cease its illegal use of the Olympic logo.
Only the Indonesian Olympic Committee, or KOI, as Indonesia’s IOC national committee member, is allowed to use the rings or any other Olympic symbols in its logo — but KONI has insisted on using the logo since 2013.
In a letter to President Joko Widodo dated Jan. 27, the IOC even warned that KONI’s continued illegal use of the Olympic rings logo could cost Indonesia its role in any IOC-sanctioned event, including the 2018 Asian Games, set to be hosted in Jakarta.
The Sports Ministry, which threatened to freeze funding for the KONI after its repeated refusals to stop using the logo, welcomed the about-face, which was announced at the committee’s annual congress in Jakarta this week.
“We appreciate and thank the KONI for finally deciding to change its logo after this long debate,” said ministry spokesman Gatot S. Dewa Broto.
He added that Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi had sent a letter to IOC president Thomas Bach informing him of the latest development, in hopes of heading off any sanctions related to the copyright infringement.
KONI secretary general Hamidi said the committee would not take long to come up with a new logo. The sports agency will also, ironically enough, move to ensure that the design is not ripped off in the same manner that it stole the “five rings” logo.
“As soon as the team is done with the design, we’ll register it with the Directorate of Intellectual Property Rights,” Hamidi said.