In light of the recent tragedy at the Malang Stadium in Java, the Indonesian government has vowed to increase safety standards at sporting events across the country, including Bali. On Tuesday, 18th October, Indonesian President Joko Widodo confirmed that the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang would be demolished and rebuilt in alignment with FIFA standards after a stadium stampede and crush, triggered by protesters and the police’s use of tear gas, killed over 130 earlier this month.
Indonesia is due to host the FIFA U20s World Cup in 2023. The qualifying soccer matches will be hosted across Indonesia, with a round of matches to be held at the Captian I Wayan Dipta Stadium in Gianyar Regency. Other games will be hosted in Jakarta, Palembang, Bandung, Surakarta, and Surabaya. Due to the stadium tragedy in Malang on 1st October 2022, Indonesia is now stepping up efforts to make live sports safer for spectators.
Speaking on Tuesday, 18th October, President Widodo told reporters, ‘We agreed to thoroughly transform Indonesian soccer…Every aspect of preparation…needs to be based on FIFA standards. The President has recently held a meeting with Gianni Infantino, who is the head of FIFA, the international governing body for football.
Infantino told reporters that FIFA’s concern lies first and foremost with the safety of players, officials, and fans. He said, ‘This is a football country, a country where football is a passion for over 100 million people…We owe it to them that when they see a match, they are safe and secure’.
The Head of FIFA confirmed that the governing body would be working in partnership with the Indonesian government in the months running up to the U20s World Cup to ensure that all venues, including the stadium in Bali, hit the rigorous safety standards required for games to go ahead.
Many local communities in Bali have a genuine love of football and are excited to welcome the U20s World Cup to the island next year. Sports communities across Bali were deeply distressed by the events at Malang Stadium earlier this month. Hundreds of football fans and mourners gathered at the Catur Muka Statue Roundabout in Denpasar to hold a candlelit vigil for the 174 people who died in the tragedy, some of whom were children.
The news comes as Bali continues preparations for the Olympic World Beach Games in 2023. The event will be the first of its kind held in Bali and comes as part of Minister Sandiaga Uno’s long-term plan to position Bali as a destination for world-class sporting events.
Bali and the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) have officially signed the Host City Contract for next year’s games. The World’s 2nd World Beach Games will be held from the 5-12th August 20203, and the program will feature ten compulsory sports and four new sports that will be announced in due course.
At the signing event, The ANOC Secretary General, Gunilla Lindberg, said, ‘We are delighted to sign the Host City Contract with our Indonesian partners…We have enjoyed excellent collaboration for many months, and preparations for the Games are already well underway. A total of 41 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have so far qualified for Bali 2023, and excitement is building among the athletes as they look ahead to what they may achieve next year.
The KOI (Indonesian Olympic Committee) President, Raja Sapta Oktohar, spoke of his excitement and hope that the event will mark a new chapter in Bali’s sporting history and be an opportunity to set a high standard for future events. He said, ‘With the full blessings of the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, and the people of Indonesia, we are confident that this edition will be the benchmark from which we will remember the World Beach Games for, the Dream Games if I might be so bold as to say’.
He continued, ‘Our aim is to deliver an extraordinary event that will leave a valuable legacy for not only the delegates from around the world but the local people, the environment, and the sporting world. A chance for us all to connect, engage and inspire a new generation and demographic within the sporting landscape and beyond’.
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