U20 tourney still on track

The National, Tuesday July 12th, 2016

PAPUA New Guinea could be in danger of not living up to its commitment of hosting the 2016 Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup in November.
The host city through the PNG Sports Foundation (PNGSF) and the local organising committee assured soccer’s world governing body that it would deliver 17 training venues and four game venues for the event but there is likely to be changes to what can be provided come November.
The World Cup is scheduled from November 13 – December 3 in Port Moresby and a source close to the organisers says the next three months will be crucial in meeting the Fifa requirements as host.
To this end, the PNG Sports Foundation is digging deep to secure additional funding to complete the training venues and upgrading of the Game venues.
The National was reliably informed that the PNGSF was the custodian of government’s K30 million grant for the World Cup.
However, PNGSF has used the money on training and games venues with the balance of K11.2 million remaining which could prove insufficient to complete the preparation of training and game venues.
Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko said while the Government was experiencing a budget crunch in terms of available cash for projects such as the World Cup, he said there was no need to hit the panic button.
“We had a K30 million budget and of that about K16 million has been used,” Tkatchenko said.
“The 17 venues are being prepared and will meet minimum Fifa requirements. They’ll be grassed, fenced, irrigated and kitted out at least a month before the start of the tournament.”
Tkatchenko said initially organisers had told him that there would only be 15 training venues completed on time but he insisted that the promised 17 be ready and he was given the assurances by the project manager.
The source claimed the PNGSF had used up K12.8 million carry-on from the 2015 Pacific Games to support the World Cup.
Tkatchenko however said he was thankful there was an amount of K20 left over from the Pacific Games and allocated for the Fifa event.
The source said the PNGSF had K7 million from the Finance Department which was yet to be transferred to the organisers to which Tkatchenko put down to the availability of funding.
PNGFA president David Chung has continued to tell Fifa that  PNG are still on target to host the World Cup. When contacted by The National, Chung referred this paper to the chairman of the Steering Committee Minister Tkatchenko.
With restricted financial support from the government, organisers could be reduced to using only three games venues with the incomplete Sir Hubert Murray Stadium only being considered a training venue.
The other venues – the NFS, Sir John Guise Stadium and two mini stadiums at Bisini and the SJGS complex – will fill the quota for stadiums.