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PyeongChang Winter Olympics events could move outside Korea

PyeongChang Winter Olympics events could move outside Korea
December 9, 2014

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has proposed that bobsleigh and luge events are moved outside of South Korea for the 2018 winter Olympic Games in order to save money for local organisers in PyeongChang.

The development comes after Korean media reported last week that the staging of the 2018 Games is under threat due to a financial dispute between the Korean government and Gangwon Province. PyeongChang county, located in Gangwon, is scheduled to host the next edition of the winter Olympics, but the Korea Times newspaper said the government and the province is in dispute over who will cover the estimated W11.1tn (US$10 billion) cost of the event.

The Gangwon Provincial Council recently threatened that if the Government of South Korea does not provide sufficient financial support for the Winter Olympics, it will “readily give up the right to host the event.” 

While the IOC is confident that the Government and the province will settle their differences, the Associated Press news agency said PyeongChang 2018 has been asked to halt construction of a new sliding venue and agree to relocate the events to an existing venue in Asia, Europe or North America.

AP reported that the move would save US$120 million in construction costs and up to US$5 million in annual maintenance costs. 

The International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) and International Luge Federation (FIL) are understood to be aware of the request and are in agreement.

“It's their decision in the end,” explained Gunilla Lindberg, a Swedish IOC Executive board member who heads the coordination commission for PyeongChang 2018, adding "but at least we're going to help them identify where the sliding centres are, where the options are. 

"In the end, they stay in PyeongChang or they take this great opportunity.”

Lindberg said the IOC has set a March deadline for a decision, with Korean organisers set to be presented with a list of 12 potential destinations across Asia, Europe and North America. 

Lindberg added “this is a perfect example of how you can reduce cost.

“You really have to look at the legacy of a sliding centre - will you use it afterwards? Because that's where the costs come in. 

"It's very expensive to keep it. 

"Next week we will send them the list of the 12. Some of them you can go and have an Olympic competition tomorrow. It's not that difficult.”

Speaking on Saturday (6th December), IOC President Thomas Bach said plans for both PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo’s staging of the 2020 summer Olympics would be reviewed after the IOC agrees it ‘Agenda 2020’ reform plan.

Agenda 2020 includes 40 recommendations designed to transform the Games into a more attractive prospect while also giving host cities the chance of using facilities in other cities or countries if it makes financial and practical sense.

Bach explained "for PyeongChang and Tokyo (the 2020 Olympics host), we had discussions with both organising committees about following up on potential opportunities with which Olympic Agenda 2020 would provide them.

If changes are approved by the Session, in particular more flexibility, we would start implementing right after the Session. 

"We will have project reviews in January and February to follow up on this in both cities to see what Olympic Agenda 2020 can do for the organisation of their Games.

"Venue changes will of course be discussed especially if they lead to more sustainability and less expense.”

19th November 2014 - IOC LOOKS TO FUTURE OLYMPIC GAMES CO-HOSTING UNDER AGENDA 2020 REFORMS

26th September 2013 - SOUTH KOREA REJECTS MOVES TO CO-HOST 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS WITH NORTH

5th Feburary 2013 - ROGGE CONFIDENT DESPITE PYEONGCHANG 2018’S FINANCIAL CHALLENGES

15th October 2011 - KOREA’S EXPENSIVE SPORTING HABIT


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