April 17, 2023
JAKARTA – Bali Governor Wayan Koster has clarified his repeated refusal to allow Israeli participation following his statement on Friday regarding the World Beach Games, which is set for Aug. 5-12 in the island province.
The Youth and Sports Ministry said on Friday after a meeting between Koster, sports minister Dito Ariotedjo and Indonesian Olympics Committee (KOI) chairman Raja Sapta Oktohari that it had reached an agreement with the Bali provincial administration to allow the World Beach Games to go ahead as scheduled.
A ministerial statement published on Friday quoted Koster as saying that the Bali administration was fully committed to supporting the Games.
“There has been an agreement with Bali, […] and as the host, the Bali provincial administration will lend its full support so [the World Beach Games] can run smoothly and will be a success,” Koster said in the ministry’s statement, which did not mention the Israeli team’s participation in the event.
On Saturday, Koster said in a written statement that his support came with a condition: “I remain consistent in refusing the Israeli team’s participation in the 2023 World Beach Games in Bali.”
Dito, who was sworn in only two weeks ago as the country’s youngest sports minister, said on Friday that he had secured Bali’s full commitment of to hosting the multi-sports event.
“The deal is that the governor and the Bali administration will give 1,000 percent of their support for the 2023 World Beach Games,” he said at the time.
But the Bali governor has debunked the statement: “I emphasize that this news is not true.” He added that during the Friday meeting, he had underlined that the Constitution and humanity must be upheld in holding the 2023 World Beach Games in Bali.
“It means that the 2023 World Beach Games in Bali should be held without the Israeli team,” Koster said.
Sports officials have expressed concern that Koster’s refusal to allow Israeli participation could lead to the Games’ cancellation.
In an earlier row over the 2023 U-20 FIFA World Cup, Koster and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, a fellow member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), as well as other high-profile figures, insisted on barring the Israeli soccer team from playing in the country.
FIFA later stripped Indonesia of its hosting rights for the soccer tournament, which had been scheduled for May 20-June 11, and froze development funds allocated for the national soccer association. (dre)