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PyeongChang 2018 seeking further funding for Olympic preparations

The PyeongChang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic winter Games (POCOG) is seeking a further W600bn (€460.6m/$507.4m) from the Korean government to aid preparations for the event.

Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo today (Wednesday) said the additional funds are being sought as the budget for the Games has ballooned past the original target of W2.2tn. POCOG has claimed the present budget is based on the 2011 bid for the event and does not include added costs involving new disciplines and other variables.

Concerning the funding request, a POCOG spokesman told Chosun Ilbo: “We have not made any decisions about the specific amount, but our new fiscal plan includes requests to the International Olympic Committee for more funding.”

A senior official at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said: “Our goal to host the Olympics at minimum expense remains unchanged, but budget increases are not uncommon and will be focused on the construction of sports venues.”

Newly-appointed PyeongChang 2018 president Lee Hee-beom last month maintained concerns over venue construction and the sponsorship programme for the next edition of the winter Olympic Games will be addressed.

Lee was formally elected as the new president of POCOG in May after Cho Yang-ho stepped down to concentrate on his business interests. In his first press conference as POCOG president, Lee said organisers would be able to meet 90 per cent of their target of W870bn in domestic sponsorship revenue by the end of the year.

He also moved to downplay financial concerns entering the final phase of venue construction and another series of test events at Olympic venues beginning in December. Lee was joined at last month’s news conference by Gunilla Lindberg, chair of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Coordination Commission for PyeongChang 2018. While expressing her faith in the new leadership, Lindberg conceded that organisers still have a “lot of work to be done” adding that the next set of test events will be crucial.

In other news, POCOG has held talks with its counterparts in Rio de Janeiro and Beijing over forming a co-operation agreement relating to their hosting of the forthcoming editions of the Olympics. Lee told Korean news agency Yonhap that PyeongChang officials are hoping to organise a joint meeting, with IOC president Thomas Bach also on hand, during Rio’s summer Games in August. They will also talk about implementing cooperative measures and holding joint conferences on a regular basis.

“Once we make progress in our cooperation talks, it will lead to further improvement of the Olympic Movement and will create a synergy effect,” Lee said. “In Rio, we'll look to more in-depth discussions on more specific and practical measures.”