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Petanque championships moved after cash shortfall

Posted by: taipei times) at 2010-08-19 10:58:16
Posting has been displayed 2812 times

A funding shortfall means that 240 competitors originally set to travel to Taipei County next month for an international sports event will be heading to Turkey instead.

The cancellation of the world petanque championships comes after organizers secured less than half the figure they said was required to accommodate competitors.

A document filed with the Sports Affairs Council (SAC), the Chinese Taipei Petanque and Sports Boules Association had said that it would need more than NT$8 million (US$252,000) to hold the event at Taipei County’s Sinjhuang Stadium.

Despite approving the proposal, the SAC only provided NT$730,00. The Taipei County Government, worried at the shortfall, later pitched in NT$2 million and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs NT$400,000.

Association chairman Bob Yeh (葉兩傳) told the Taipei Times that the cancellation came after they recognized they could not guarantee the success of the competition with the funding received.

“We did what we could, but in the end we decided that it would be better to just cancel the event instead of having something go wrong,” he said.

There are somewhere between 3,000 to 5,000 active players in Taiwan but millions in Europe.

The decision, which was made in June but only recently publicized, has been derided by the International Federation of Petanque and Provencal Games (FIPJP), saying it did not take into account the consequences for associations which may have already made travel plans.

In a statement, FIPJP president Claude Azema said that the Chinese Taipei association “hid behind secondary pretexts,” realizing “just a little late that they had not the competence and the means to organize the next world championship.”

The organization announced that the championships would be delayed a week and relocated to Izmir, Turkey.

In the legislature yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said that the incident had damaged Taiwan’s image.

“We are extremely saddened that the SAC minister [Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡)] allowed this to happen ... It has turned Taiwan into a laughing stock,” DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said.

The ministry said the main responsibility still fell with Yeh and his association, citing a lack of communication between the organizers and the SAC.

“We fully supported the event, but the organizers lacked experience, saying it had gotten too big,” said Chou Jui (周瑞), head of the SAC’s international sports bureau, adding that Yeh did not come to the ministry for help.

“We told them the funding they requested was too much,” Chou said. “We tried to call them several times and asked them to provide supplementary information, but the association did not respond to our requests,”

“Even when they [the association] decided to quit, they told the International Federation of Petanque before informing us,” he said.

Chou added that the SAC’s international sports department has an annual budget of approximately NT$130 million to fund events held by all sports associations. Before subsidizing an event, Chou said that the council took into account various factors, including whether the sport is included in the Asian Games or the Olympics.

“For a sport that is neither in the Asian Games or the Olympics, NT$730,000 is a lot,” Chou said.

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