Until regulations prohibiting tobacco companies from sponsoring sports events are put in place, Indonesia Open organizers are more than happy to do business with PT Djarum.
Under a recently signed three-year deal, the cigarette company will provide the $600,000 prize money at the Indonesia Open starting next year, when the tournament is introduced as part of the inaugural Premier Series.
“Through the Premier Series, we want to show the world that our country can host a tournament with substantial prize money,” Djarum director Yan Haryadi said at a news conference on Tuesday. “It will give Indonesia prestige in the badminton community.”
Yan said that Djarum, which is sponsoring this month’s Indonesia Open Super Series, wanted to demonstrate its commitment to badminton despite what he called a growing domestic campaign against tobacco use.
Last month, the Health Ministry said it was drafting a proposal to ban cigarette companies from communicating directly with consumers, including through promotions.
“The Badminton World Federation has not issued any regulation banning us from sponsoring a tournament,” Yan said. “Should the BWF make a decision against this kind of sponsorship, then we will back out.”
Handojo, chairman of the Indonesia Open’s organizing committee, said: “The BWF has guaranteed us that a cigarette company can sponsor events, at least through 2013.”
Besides the Indonesia Open, four other tournaments — the Denmark Open, the China Open, the Korea Open and the All England — will be elevated to the Premier Series next year. The event in South Korea will offer a $1.2 million purse, the richest in badminton history.
The international tournaments compromising next year’s Super Series are the France Open, the Malaysia Open, the Hong Kong Open, the Singapore Open, the China Masters and the India Open, which will replace the Swiss Open.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) has been busy preparing national shuttlers for the Indonesia Open at Istora Gelora Bung Karno on June 22-27.
PBSI president Djoko Santoso said the association was optimistic about sweeping all five categories at the event after China’s top players decided to skip the Jakarta tournament for the Chinese Badminton League.
“I hope we can achieve better results this year,” Djoko said.
When asked about the administrative blunder that cost three world-ranked shuttlers berths in the Indonesia Open, Djoko said PBSI would work to ensure this kind of mistake was not repeated.
“We will fix this. PBSI has done its best to register the players with the BWF, but we were rejected,” he said.
As a result of the error, Vita Marissa and Hendra Aprida Gunawan, ranked No. 4 in the world in mixed doubles, and men’s doubles specialist Alvent Yulianto Chandra will not only miss the Indonesia Open, but may also have to pay for breaching their contract with Yonex-Sunrise, which sponsors the players.
Barry Tamba, a Yonex-Sunrise representative, said his company was waiting for a confirmation letter from PBSI before deciding on the matter.