Three bidders to contest hosting rights for 2019 Pacific Games

The Pacific Games Council (PGC) has confirmed that Guam, Samoa and Tahiti have submitted bids to host the 2019 edition of the Pacific Games multi-sport event, which had been due to take place in Tonga.

The PGC is seeking a new destination for the event after Tonga withdrew its hosting rights earlier this year, citing financial concerns.

The PGC will now conduct site visits in the three interested countries, with a replacement host to be announced on September 1.

In a statement, the PGC said: “The PGC is delighted with this response and thanks the three PGAs (Pacific Games Associations) for stepping forward with their intention to host the 2019 Pacific Games and delivering a strong vote of confidence in the importance of the Games and the benefits of hosting them.

“The three expressions of interest contain varying levels of details as well as varying levels of financial commitments from their respective governments.”

The PGC last month launched legal proceedings against the Tongan government following its decision to withdraw from hosting the 2019 Games. The PGC formally terminated its hosting agreement with Tonga after a fresh deadline for the country’s government to reconsider its decision passed on June 30.

Tonga’s Prime Minister, ‘Akillisi Pōhiva, earlier in June said the decision to withdraw would not be reversed. Pōhiva refused to provide financial backing to the event and talks between the Prime Minister and PGC officials did not result in a compromise being reached.

The Pacific Games take place every four years and were last held in Papua New Guinea in 2015. Last year, the Solomon Islands were awarded hosting rights for the 2023 event.

Each of the three countries interested in replacing Tonga as host have staged the event in the past. Samoa last played host in 2007, with Guam and Tahiti having last staged the event in 1999 and 1995, respectively.