PyeongChang 2018 strife
Korean reports suggesting that a deadlock over funding, especially with regard to the Olympic stadium, threatens the future of the event. The government is reported to have decided to cover only 50 per cent of the cost of the new Olympic stadium. Gangwon Province and the organising committee are being asked to cover the remainder. However, the province wants the government to cover 75% of the costs.
Gangwon Provincial Council, the local government body in the region in which PyeongChang is located, had warned that if the government does not provide sufficient financial support for the Olympics, it will “readily give up the right to host the event”. This was according to a report in the Korean Times.
One official at the Gangwon Provincial Assembly told the newspaper: “The event is an international one and will be held on our soil for the first time, but the government focuses only on the economic aspects and refrains from giving due support.”
However, PyeongChang 2018 played down the funding dispute, saying “construction for the six new venues which will be completed in time for test events to be held during the 2016-17 winter season.”
This comes as news emerges of financial difficulties in Korea advertisement revenues related to hi-tech slip and government seeks to impose new licencing and operational costs.
Tokyo may slash the price tag for the 2020 Summer Olympics by US$1.7 billion. This would be through scrapping or scaling back plans to build new facilities amid fears over spiralling costs. Recent estimates put the bill for the venues, including the construction of 10 new facilities, at ¥450 billion (US$3.8 billion) – three times the initial estimate – triggering renewed belt-tightening measures and even calls to use existing venues as far away as Osaka.
"We reviewed our facility plans after the expense swelled due to unexpected additional construction works and surging costs of construction in general," said Katsura Enyo, senior official at the Tokyo metropolitan government's 2020 Games planning division. "We presented the revised plan to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and I think we gained their understanding. What's important is that we build facilities that Tokyoites still find useful after the Olympics are over."
IOC vice president John Coates has urged Japanese officials to look into the possibility of holding more sports outside Tokyo. He suggested basketball preliminaries could be played in Osaka, 400 kilometres west of Tokyo. This would represent an embarrassing detour from the city's bid plan. The bid promised that virtually all events would take place within eight kilometres of the Olympic village. Tokyo's compact bid had been a key factor in beating Istanbul and Madrid for the rights to host the 2020 Games.
"We should make the maximum use of existing facilities, and that overrides the eight kilometre philosophy which we had as part of the bid," he said after a visit to Tokyo. "We suggested to the organising committee that for the preliminaries for basketball, just as for football, they may care to look at cities like Osaka that might have large venues."
This now raises many questions for a good number of sports federations which had 'signed off' on proposed venues and facilities for Tokyo 2020. Seems another few rounds of negotiation will ensue…more issues, dilemmas and maybe delays.
Dmitri Chernyshenko, former CEO of Sochi 2014, has been appointed to head the Russian-based, multi-national Kontinental Hockey League. In a thinly veiled ‘managed’ appointment, Alexander Medvedev, and the founder of the Kontinental Hockey League, resigned as President. Chernyshenko will be joined on the KHL’s Executive Board by another former Sochi 2014 board member, Alexei Krasnov. The Kontinental Hockey League is an international professional hockey league founded in 2008. It consists of 28 member clubs from 7 countries. It is widely considered to be the premier ice hockey league in Eurasia.