Taxpayers will have to fork out $290,000 as the host fee for the Pacific Games in 2019.
The amount is a fraction of what is likely to cost the country to host the Games, with less than two years to go.
The host fee was confirmed by Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee President, Fepulea’i Patrick Fepulea’i, in response to questions posed by the Samoa Observer.
“The Samoan government is paying for the host fee as S.A.S.N.O.C. is poor and cannot afford it,” he said.
In September 2017, the Executive Board of the Pacific Games Council (P.G.C.) unanimously approved the awarding of the hosting rights for the 2019 Pacific Games to the Pacific Games Association (P.G.A.) of Samoa.
Tonga was initially scheduled to host the Games; however in July they pulled out saying they could not afford the costs.
Samoa immediately put in a bid. It was up against Guam and Tahiti.
In justifying the $290,000 fee, Fepulea’i explained the Pacific Games and Pacific Mini Games own the Games and so any host country is required to pay this fee.
“For us as the host countries, we have to pay the host fee and we pay the fees to the owners of the games, that is basically what that is,” said Fepulea’i.
He said the host fee is paid in installments, however he could not give an exact amount on the partial payments.
“The first payment is now due and the second payment is in the middle of the year, so by next July, we should be able to pay off the host fee (of $290,000).”
According to Fepulea’i, they are relying on the government to front and guarantee the hosting of the games scheduled for July 2019.
He added that the host fee is actually revenue for the Pacific Games Council for their operational costs.
“This is the main source of revenue for the Council, so it not a matter of the fee being too much, this is the normal fee that is paid for by the host country,” he said.
Regarding the preparations, Fepulea’i said any host country for the Pacific Games is given seven years to prepare.
“However for us, we are given one year and six months to prepare and on the positive side of things, we have the facilities.”
In the meantime, Fepulea’i said they are waiting for the panelists to decide on the C.E.O. of the Pacific Games.