Iain Hepburn | April 2, 2013
This summer’s Islamic Solidarity Games have had to be postponed – after construction workers closed the main stadium in a row over unpaid wages.
The Games, due to take place in Indonesia in June, have been shelved until October after protests by subcontractors building the stadium about more than Dh150m in unpaid wages.
Up to 5,000 athletes from 56 Organisation of the Islamic Conference countries – including the UAE – were due to head out at the start of June to the event and compete in a number of disciplines, including archery, wushu and football.
But Timbul Thomas Lubis, the Games’ organising committee secretary, confirmed it would now be October before the Games could go ahead.
“They refuse to open the stadium for the games until they are paid in full,” he admitted.
The organizers have been arranging funds to pay the building teams, ensuring work on opening the stadium could resume, but other delays have added to their woes.
“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,” Lubis added.
It’s not the first time the Solidarity Games have been beset by a lack of solidarity. The 2009 event was scrapped altogether after a dispute with Iran.