Wed, Jul 25, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Anger over Taipei City’s costly London Games trip

BUREAUCRATIC HURDLES:Officials involved in the planning of the Taipei 2017 Universiade event are facing criticism over their NT$2.48 million fact-finding mission

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei City Government yesterday defended a delegation’s planned visit to the London Olympic Games amid concerns about the NT$2.48 million (US$82,000) inspection trip, insisting that the city aimed to learn from the experience of the English capital before hosting the Summer Universiade in 2017.

The delegation, led by Taipei Deputy Mayor Timothy Ting (丁庭宇), will embark on a 21-day trip to the Olympic Games in London this week to inspect the 16 events that the 2017 Summer Universiade will also host. The delegation will also inspect facilities and overall management of the Games, including transportation, public security and the Athletes Village.

The inspection trip has sparked a dispute, with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Wang Shih-chien (王世堅) questioning the effectiveness of the visit, saying that delegation is not attending the opening and closing ceremonies of the event.

“The delegation did not get tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies. They spend so much money on the trip and will watch the ceremonies in a hotel. What’s the point of wasting taxpayers’ money and traveling to London only to watch the Games on TV?” he asked.

Taipei Sports Office director Chen Liang-hui (陳良輝) said yesterday that the delegation did not purchase tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies due to budget issues as the ceremonies cost NT$50,000 per ticket.

Inspection of the competition events at the Olympics Games would be the priority and the delegation would visit the Athletes Village and other facilities during the visit and attend a forum on hosting sports events to learn more about hosting the Universiade in 2017, Chen said.

Ting said part of the expense would be paid by using the deputy mayor’s special allowance and said the city’s delegation opted not to join the Chinese Taipei Olympic team because the purpose of the trip is to inspect facilities and the hosting of the Games.

The city has listed a current budget of more than NT$40 billion (US$ 1.3 billion) to host the Summer Universiade in 2017, an international sporting event for university students, with the central government responsible for shouldering NT$340 million of the expense.

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