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Spend it like Beckham: Auditor-General probes Galaxy visit

Spend it like Beckham: Auditor-General probes Galaxy visit
February 5, 2009

The Auckland Regional Council's funding of David Beckham's LA Galaxy visit is being investigated by New Zealand's Auditor-General.

The Auditor-General is investigating the funding and support provided by Auckland Regional Council (ARC) for the LA Galaxy football team's visit to Auckland last year.

The inquiry will examine the council's funding and support arrangements for the team's visit, along with policies and rules for supporting such events.

It will also examine processes for making the funding and support arrangements, including its business plan and its assessment of risk, and management, monitoring, and reporting of the funding and support arrangements.

Despite being a world-class footballer and international celebrity, Beckham was not a big enough drawcard to fill Mount Smart Stadium on 6th December 2008 disappointing organisers who failed to break even.

A meagre 16,600 fans turned up to watch LA Galaxy thump the Oceania All Stars 3-0 at the 30,000 capacity stadium, which is managed by the ARC. It needed an attendance of 19,000 just to break even.

The ARC, which paid NZ$2.5 million to bring Beckham to Auckland, had high hopes after a 32,000-strong crowd filled Wellington's Westpac Stadium in December 2007 when LA Galaxy played the Wellington Phoenix.

The organisers had said last year they would hold an inquiry into why the game did not attract as many people as they were assured it would.


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