eThekwini still needs billions to host Games

2016-11-27 00:00
Commonwealth Games Durban 2022 logo (Supplied)

Commonwealth Games Durban 2022 logo (Supplied)

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The Durban Commonwealth Games 2022 bid committee is in a mad scramble to raise the R6.3 billion in guarantees required by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to allow the city’s bid for the international tournament to go ahead.

Durban has until November 30 to secure the funding and to meet other deadlines set by the CGF’s general assembly in order for the bid – which the city won after the only other contender, Edmonton, pulled out – to be confirmed.

The Games have a potential spin-off value of R20 billion, although the event, in which Britain and 70 former colonies participate, has over the years declined as both a crowd puller and a money-spinner.

Earlier this month, members of the team responsible for the Durban bid were called to a meeting in London where they were grilled about the preparations and the financial guarantees, according to sources close to the committee.

The meeting followed a visit to Durban in October by CGF head Louise Martin.

The CGF is also understood to have raised concerns about Durban’s failure to appoint a local organising committee and to have changed the content of the bid since the time of the award.

Now the city is turning to the business community and national and provincial government to raise the money.

Unlike the successful bids for events like the Fifa World Cup, which are made at central government level, the Commonwealth Games bid was a city one, which sources say may come unstuck if the guarantees are not delivered.

“We have to raise billions but we are still in the millions,’’ said a city official who cannot be named as he is not mandated to speak to the media.

“There is a real problem. The team was called to talk to the big boys from the CGF. They wanted answers about the financial side in particular, in addition to the issues around capacity to host the event.”

A second city source said that eThekwini’s mayor, Zandile Gumede, has gone on a fundraising campaign, asking provincial and national government to step in and assist in the additional R5.5 billion-plus that is required.

“It’s going to be tough. The city can’t come up with that kind of money. We simply don’t have it,” the source said.

A CGF spokesperson said this week that they were “working with Durban ... for the satisfactory resolution of all outstanding matters”.

The CGF would consider the submissions and make a final recommendation in the new year on Durban’s ability to host the Games.

A provincial government official, meanwhile, said the political will for Durban to host the Games remained “100%.”

Read more on:    zandile gumede  |  commonwealth games 2022

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