Youth Olympic Games expected to cost 25 times more than similar events
10.03.2009By Steve Menary
Some Island Games involve building work such as the 2003 event in Guernsey, where UK£1.7 million was spent on a new stand at the Garenne Stadium, but most do not and the last four competitions cost between UK£1 million and £1.2 million to stage.The IOC took nearly a working week to respond to Play the Game’s questions on the inaugural YOG before a spokeswoman finally explained that the cost was due to “funding travel and accommodation for NOC delegations, and the production of a daily broadcast highlights package.” The IOC initially suggested that the YOG should not cost more than U$30 million but Singapore’s winning bid of U$75.5m was still more than half the cost of the other short-listed candidate, Russia. The IOC would not disclose whether the organisation would contribute financially to next year’s event in Singapore but the IGA’s chairman said that bankrolling a trip for youngsters set a bad example. “In my opinion, you should pay for what you get and everything you get for free is not worth anything,” says Jörgen Pettersson, who competed in many Island Games for Åland and is organizing this year’s event. “There is something to be learned from raising your own funding. If you pay for their travel, you send a strange message to youngsters although you can get everyone to attend. “We’re always concerned about cost and the cost this year will probably be closer to £1.2 million. Another major difference [between the YOG and the Island Games] is that they are dealing with paid staff and we are not. A host island would generally employ no more than one or two people and need around 1,000 volunteers. If we started paying them it would be major.”
The cost of the Youth Olympic Games dwarfs not just the Island Games but other similar events aimed at the younger generation.
The Commonwealth Youth Games will be staged in the Isle of Man with 1,000 competitors in seven sports from 77 countries – and the hosts’ budget is just UK£1.5 million.Despite the ballooning cost, the IOC is pressing ahead with the Youth Olympics and last month disclosed that China, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Poland and Turkey want to host the next YOG in 2014. Official candidacies must be declared on April 1 with a winner named in February 2010.