Indonesia puts off Islamic sports event

Indonesia puts off Islamic sports event

JAKARTA - Agence France-Presse
Indonesia puts off Islamic sports event

This photo shows the stadium in Pekanbaru, Sumatra, that is set to be used for the Islamic Solidarity Games, which were originally scheduled for June. AFP photo

Indonesia has postponed the Islamic Solidarity Games due to be held in June until October after construction workers closed the main stadium in protest at not being paid in full, organizers said Tuesday.

Some 5,000 athletes from member countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference had been due to take part in the third edition of the games from June 6 to 17 in the city of Pekanbaru on Sumatra island.

But organizing committee secretary Timbul Thomas Lubis told AFP the games would now be held sometime in October as sub-contractors hired to build the main stadium were angry as they were owed 400 billion rupiah ($41.2 million).

“They refuse to open the stadium for the games until they are paid in full,” he said, adding that funds had been prepared so sub-contractors should receive their payment soon.

It is the latest embarrassment for Indonesia in its efforts to host big sporting events after two people were killed in a stampede at a Jakarta stadium in the Southeast Asian Games football final in November, 2011.

Lubis said the Islamic Solidarity Games had also been beset by other problems, such as a failure to start the tender process for some contracts related to the games early enough, meaning they would not be complete in time.

“We feel it’s better to delay the games because of lack of preparation. We are trying our best to get everything settled by then,” he added.

The 2009 edition of the games, which include football, badminton, and archery, was also postponed and later cancelled over a dispute between Arab countries and Iran over the name of a waterway.