Fri, Dec 23, 2005 - Page 23 News List

Turin's Olympics committee could face bankruptcy

AP , ROME

The organizing committee for the Turin Olympics could face bankruptcy procedures if a 64 million euro (US$76 million) shortfall is not covered, the government supervisor for the games said on Wednesday.

"It would be very serious, but nobody actually believes it will happen. We're hoping a Cabinet meeting tomorrow [Thursday] will help us out," Mario Pescante said.

Pescante said the government is still considering a scratch-card lottery game that could produce 20 million euros in revenues for the Feb. 10-26 games. Financial help from regional authorities and companies in the Turin area is also being sought.

Italian media reported on Wednesday that a special commissioner could take over as emergency chairman of the organizing committee (TOROC) under the first step in bankruptcy procedures. That could happen if TOROC fails to approve its budget at a Jan. 10 board meeting.

Yesterday marked 50 days to go before the opening ceremony, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is not expressing a high level of concern.

TOROC chief Valentino Castellani called another meeting for today about the situation, depending on the outcome of yesterday's Cabinet session.

The shortfall stems from Italy's draft budget for next year, which does not include the government's final 40 million euro allocation to Olympic organizers. The budget draft also scrapped the scratch-card lottery game.

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