Asia

ANOC states ‘extreme disappointment’ as Indonesia drops World Beach Games

Beach tennis action at the 2019 World Beach Games

Featured image credit: ANOC

Beach tennis action at the 2019 World Beach Games

Featured image credit: ANOC

The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) has been forced to cancel the second edition of its World Beach Games after the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) withdrew its hosting rights a month ahead of the event.

The island of Bali was due to stage the multi-sport Games from August 5-12, with over 1,500 athletes set to compete across 14 disciplines such as beach football, beach handball, beach tennis, water polo, surfing and sailing.

ANOC yesterday (Tuesday) stated its “great surprise and extreme disappointment” at the KOI’s withdrawal, adding that the decision at such late notice prevents it from being able to find an alternative host leaving no other option but to cancel.

ANOC said: “The KOI 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. ANOC is very disappointed by the KOI’s actions which will deny athletes from 100 qualified NOCs from fulfilling their ambitions of competing at the Games.

“While there have been challenges in the Games preparations, as at any major multi-sport event, ANOC had been regularly assured by the KOI that solutions would be found and the Games would go ahead as planned.

“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. ANOC’s immediate priority is to ensure the athletes are supported and the NOCs and IFs (International Federations) are compensated as best as possible in light of the Games cancellation.”

The inaugural World Beach Games were held in Doha, Qatar in 2019, with ANOC confirming Bali as host of the 2023 Games in June 2022. Indonesia had been approved as the host country in October 2021, however the rights were on hold as the country at that time was declared non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), preventing it from being awarded hosting rights for major regional, continental or world championships.

Indonesia was taken off WADA’s non-compliance list in February 2022, paving the way for Bali to be confirmed as host of the World Beach Games. However, recent developments have complicated matters further.

Local media reports had said Bali Governor, Wayan Koster, would refuse to support Israel’s presence if it was confirmed to take part. Indonesia and Israel have no formal diplomatic relations, with support for the Palestinian cause in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation running high.

FIFA, football’s global governing body, in March stripped Indonesia of hosting rights for this year’s U20 World Cup amid similar issues, with Argentina picking up the rights the following month.

EHF Women’s Euro 2026 stripped from Russia

In other event news, Russia has lost hosting rights to its latest major sporting event following last year’s invasion of Ukraine, with the European Handball Federation (EHF) seeking a new destination for its Women’s Euro 2026 tournament.

Russia had secured the hosting rights in November 2021, just months before the conflict in Ukraine commenced. Three venues in St. Petersburg and Moscow were proposed to stage the Women’s EHF Euro 2026, which would have marked the country’s first time staging the event. Moscow’s 12,000-capacity VTB Arena was due to host the final weekend.

The EHF said contact with the Russian Handball Federation was established at the beginning of the week with the outcome that holding the event in Russia “is not possible within the given timetable”.