It’s on. Samoa is set to host the Pacific Games in 2019.
The decision was announced yesterday afternoon by the Pacific Games Council.
“The Executive Board of the Pacific Games Council (P.G.C) has unanimously approved the awarding of the hosting rights for the 2019 Pacific Games to the Pacific Games Association (P.G.A) of Samoa,” a statement from the Council read.
“The P.G.C warmly congratulates the P.G.A of Samoa on its selection as host for the 2019 Pacific Games and will assist them in every way possible in the short time available for preparations.
“The P.G.C also sincerely thanks the Prime Minister and the government of Samoa for its commitment to support the Samoa P.G.A and fully underwrite the cost of staging the 2019 Pacific Games.”
Tonga was initially scheduled to host the Games. In July, however, the government of former Prime Minister, Akilisi Pohiva, pulled out saying it could not afford the costs.
Samoa immediately put in a bid. It was up against Guam and Tahiti.
Prior to yesterday, it was a two-horse race between Samoa and Guam.
“The Executive Board assessed that the expression of interest lodged by Samoa was the only one that met all of the criteria, most notably the full financial commitment of the host Government including to provide the range of other support services required to stage such an event,” the Council said.
“This commitment was lacking in the expression of interest lodged by the Tahiti P.G.A and its candidacy was not explored further via a P.G.C evaluation visit.
“The expression of interest lodged by the Guam P.G.A was excellent and contained the support of the Governor.
“However, an agreement between the Governor and the Guam Legislature for a budget appropriation to enable Pacific Games preparations to begin in the upcoming fiscal year could not be reached in the short timeframe available.
“The P.G.C is very grateful to the P.G.As of Guam and Tahiti for displaying their strong commitment to the Pacific Games and for offering to provide the athletes with a home for their 2019 Games.”
P.G.C President, Vidhya Lakhan, congratulated Samoa.
“Samoa is an experienced and capable recent host of major events like the 2007 South Pacific Games and 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games,” he said.
“The Executive Board has every confidence that Samoa will stage another very successful Pacific Games in 2019.
“The sporting facilities are all in place and the full and financial support of the Samoan Prime Minister and Government gave the Samoan PGA’s bid the winning edge.
“We all look forward to returning to Apia in 2019. In the meantime, P.G.C expects to sign the Games Host Agreement with the Samoan P.G.A and Government in the next ten days.”