Asian Games: Indonesia fails to solve Olympic logo row amid IOC ban talks

A Monaco's policeman walks past the Olympic rings during the opening of the 127th International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Monaco on Dec 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A Monaco's policeman walks past the Olympic rings during the opening of the 127th International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Monaco on Dec 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (Reuters) - The Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) and the Indonesian National Sports Committee (KONI) failed this week to resolve a copyright row involving the Olympic rings logo which has put the country's hosting of the 2018 Asian Games in jeopardy.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) told the Indonesian government last month they faced a ban unless KONI stopped using the Olympic rings in its logo, saying only their member, KOI, was allowed to do so.

KOI used to be a part of KONI but the two split a decade ago with KOI taking responsibility for the participation of Indonesia at major sporting events such as the Asians Games and Olympics. KONI heads the sporting associations in the fourth largest country in the world by population.

Monday's meeting in Jakarta between the two bodies and senior government officials failed to find a solution, with the KONI chairman refusing to give up the logo. "In the meeting, we discovered that the Olympic Charter provides opportunity for non-governmental organisations to become members of the IOC," Mr. Tono Suratman was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Globe. "So, for now we will retain the Olympic rings in our logo as we are not ready to talk about dropping the rings."

Gatot S. Dewa Broto, a member of Indonesia's Youth and Sports Ministry, said the two bodies had instructed his office to find a solution which he was optimistic of doing. "We have found some points in the Olympic Charter that we could possibly use as a solution, such as rules number three and seven. I will study the Olympic Charter thoroughly first," Gatot said. "We need to be honest. Right now, we try to find a solution that has a less negative impact and focus on the positive side. And we're confident we could reach it as both parties have the same goal, which is to avoid sanctions from the IOC."

Rule three of the Olympic Charter discusses recognition by the IOC, while rule seven relates to rights over the Olympic Games and properties, such as the Olympic rings, symbols, flags, mottos and anthems.

Jakarta was named the 2018 Asian Games host in September after Hanoi, which had been awarded the staging rights in 2012 ahead of the Indonesian city of Surabaya, pulled out saying it could not afford to foot the bill for facilities and venues.

The Asian Games is the biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics and are organised by the IOC-recognised Olympic Council of Asia, whose 45 members include KOI.