By HENRY MORABANG
THE high cost of hiring stadiums and billeting visiting teams forced Hekari United to withdraw its bid to host an Oceania Football Confederation Champions League pool.
Hekari team manager Vonnie Kapi Natto, who this week returned from the Solomon Islands, confirmed that her club was aware of the bidding process of the OFC Champions League.
“I can confirm that we received an invitation from OFC asking if the club wished to host pool matches,” Kapi Natto said.
She said after a thorough review of the bidding process, the club realised that they would drain all the financial resources from sponsor, MRDC, as there was no support from PNG Football Association or other stakeholders.
She said they had gone through the requirements and noted that Hekari would meet the hire of the stadiums, security, international transport and accommodation for the visiting teams, which the club felt was too big a burden to carry.
Kapi Natto said she was not aware of Lae City Dwellers’ case.
Unlike the Fiji Football Association, who assisted its champion clubs with F$50,000 (K78,178) each, Hekari has received nothing from its mother body for participation at O-League or OFC Champions League matches.
Kapi Natto said in all, Hekari would not benefit in hosting the tournament and did not want to leave its sponsor with a huge bill.
Attempts to contact OFC competition manager Chris Kemp were unsuccessful.
The OFC has said it would not be making any further comment on the bidding process for the OFC Champions League 2017.
OFC head of media and communication Jacqueline Tran Van made this comment when responding to questions about the failure of PNG’s top clubs, Hekari and Lae City to submit bids.
Dwellers coach Peter Gunemba told The National that his club had been unaware of the bidding process.
PNGFA and OFC president David Chung maintained that it was up to clubs to submit their bids and not the national body.
By HENRY MORABANG