Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Indonesia Pulls Out Of Hosting Beach Games

Associated Press
July 4, 2023 | 11:56 pm
FILE - Tourists practice surfing on Kuta Beach, Bali, on Oct. 30, 2020. (Antara Photo)
FILE - Tourists practice surfing on Kuta Beach, Bali, on Oct. 30, 2020. (Antara Photo)

Lausanne, Switzerland. Indonesia pulled out of hosting another global sports event at short notice Tuesday, three months after refusing to welcome Israel’s team for soccer's Under-20 World Cup.

The World Beach Games had been set to be staged in Bali from Aug. 5-15 but were canceled after the Indonesian government pulled the budget, the global group of national Olympic bodies known as ANOC said Tuesday.

ANOC said it had no option but to cancel the 14-sport championships — including beach versions of soccer, tennis and volleyball, plus surfing and open water swimming — because it was unable to find a replacement host with so little time.

About 1,500 athletes from 100 nations, including Israel, were expected to compete in Bali across 41 medal events.


Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country and does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, while publicly supporting the Palestinian cause.

“The KOI (Indonesian Olympic Committee) stated the decision was taken after the budget was not released by the government of the country and there is now not time to deliver the games,” Lausanne-based ANOC said in a statement, noting its “great surprise and extreme disappointment.”

“ANOC and the KOI met for weekly coordination meetings, as recently as last week, and at no point did the KOI indicate there were any issues that would lead to such an outcome,” the umbrella group said.

No political issue was cited in the ANOC statement but the problem loomed after Indonesia’s refusal to comply with FIFA’s hosting requirements to let Israel play in the U20 soccer tournament it had qualified for several months earlier.

FIFA first postponed the tournament draw that was scheduled in Bali then stripped Indonesia of the actual championship days later.

After Argentina stepped in to host the U20 World Cup, Israel achieved one of its best results in international soccer last month. Israel lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Uruguay and placed third.

Indonesia’s political stance on hosting events prompted the International Olympic Committee to caution sports bodies about picking the country for events.

The IOC said two weeks ago it advised ANOC to “look at this situation very closely” ahead of the World Beach Games.

Bali also was due to host the ANOC annual assembly of more than 200 Olympic national bodies. That meeting is postponed until a new host can be found, ANOC said.

FIFA did last month award Indonesia hosting rights to the men’s Under-17 World Cup that starts in November, which will not have Israel taking part.

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