Indonesia badminton’s tenuous relationship with indirect cigarette sponsorship was put to a test after the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) accused PB Djarum, the premier badminton club in the country, of exploiting children to promote the cigarette brand.
PB Djarum threatened to cancel their annual badminton scholarship selection trials from 2020 as retaliation. And it seems like that the threat has reaped success as the Indonesian Sports Minister Imam Nahwari stepped in to ensure that the trials is continued as scheduled.
On his advise PB Djarum has agreed to change its program’s name to General Selection of Badminton Scholarship without displaying its logo or brands. The programme was initiated in 2006 by PB Djarum, founded and backed by the Djarum cigarette company.
The brand until a few years ago were the main sponsors of the All-Indonesia Badminton Association (PBSI).
Djarum were forced to withdraw their sponsorship of the PBSI in line with Indonesia’s decision to bar cigarette companies from sponsoring sports. Djarum, however, are still very much involved in Indonesian badminton through their online shopping unit, Blibli.
The drastic decision by Djarum came as a surprise, especially when they had found a way around their sponsorship of PBSI.
KPAI had raised the issue of child exploitation last month, saying the club’s young talent auditions were stealthily used to promote the Djarum cigarette brand.
The Club has a long history, having been formed in 1969 by Djarum stalwart Budi Hartono. The club is based in Kudus and can claim to have produced some of the best known Indonesian badminton stars.
Liem Swie King, Ardy Wiranata, Alan Budi Kusuma, Haryanto Arbi and Chandra Wijaya are just some of the stars to have come through the club.
KPAI and another NGO, the Lentera Anak Foundation, had called for Djarum to drop the branding and visual imagery from the selection trials it conducts yearly.
Involving children in cigarette promotion is illegal according to a 2012 government regulation on mitigating the effects of tobacco products.
The regulation in question is Governmental Regulation No. 209 of 2012. Under this law, Djarum’s usage of its logo and trademark at badminton auditions is considered brand imaging of tobacco products. According to the KPAI, such cigarette company-sponsored events should not involve children under 18.
Djarum Foundation manages its parent company’s corporate social responsibility funds, most of which are given to cultural, educational and sports programs.