Jakarta. Officials from the Indonesian Olympic Committee, or KOI, departed for Tehran on Tuesday to attend the Olympic Council of Asia's executive board meeting.
At the meeting scheduled for Wednesday, the representatives will present the latest report on the 2018 Asian Games' preparation, which will be hosted by Indonesia, and discuss the possibility of sanctions from world football governing body FIFA, due to a power struggle between the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) and the Sports Ministry.
Representatives from state and local governments are also expected to try and convince the board that preparations for the Games are on track.
“The representatives will present all progress and master plans for the preparations, including infrastructure and the Games’ budget plan," said Rita Subowo, president of KOI, on Monday.
"For example, South Sumatra as the hub city will report every detail of the athletes' village advanced construction, as the local government has planned to build some more towers.
"The state government will also report on the progress of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Terminal III expansion, scheduled to be finished in early 2018.”
However, the ongoing dispute between the sports ministry and PSSI may draw questions over whether the football will be contested at the 45-nation Games.
Rita said FIFA and the OCA are ready to offer their assistance to help find a solution to the dispute, but under one condition.
“That the ministry is ready to cooperate with them by giving back the national football federation’s legal rights before the FIFA congress on May 30.
"If there is any change right before the congress, they will help. If not, we may face possible sanction from FIFA and we will be prohibited to host or compete in any international tournament.
“They are ready to help the government create transparency in the country’s football management, both in PSSI and local clubs. They will support the government all the way.
“But if we are suspended, it will have a huge impact on the 2018 Games. I believe many Asian countries don’t want the Games hosted by a country whose football is suspended.
“Football might still be contested at the Games, but we won’t see Indonesia playing. We don’t want to see that happen.”
Meanwhile, Rita said Indonesia will send 504 athletes to compete in 32 of the 36 sports held at next month’s Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
Among them are Indonesia's top female hockey players, whom Prima — the body in charge of athletes’ preparation for multi-sports events — planned not to send.
“They are invited by the Singapore Hockey Federation, which provided them with free airplane tickets and accommodation. The host country needs Indonesia to join so the minimum number of participants can be achieved and the game still can be competed,” Rita said.
“I think it is good for our athletes to get an early international exposure before the 2018 Asiad, where the sport will be competed.”
Team Indonesia, meanwhile, has received some much-needed support as KOI signed a sponsorship agreement with apparel company Eagle, which will help support the team at this years' Games, which are scheduled to begin on June 5.
The company will also provide cash bonuses for 10 talented athletes.
“Each talented athlete or team deserves to win Rp 50 million [$3,800] as the government has allocated bonuses for the medal winners,” said CK Song, chief executive of Global Fashion Indonesia, which manufactures Eagle apparel.
“Eagle is a Korean company established in Indonesia. We feel a responsibility that Eagle should support Indonesia to compete at the SEA games. You have to achieve the best. Indonesia's economy is still growing and the sports industry is the best way to boost it.”