City criticized for marathon mess

BLACK HOLE?:Taipei City only asked the organizer to provide detailed accounts for the event last year, and it seems that in 2010 no registration fees had been collected

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Dec 14, 2013 - Page 3

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Mark Ho (何志偉) yesterday slammed the Taipei City Government for failing to collect NT$20 million (US$ 670,000) from the annual Taipei Fubon Marathon and threatened to cancel the budget listed for the event if it cannot keep detailed accounting.

The marathon, which will kick off tomorrow in the city, is in its 10th year has become the most iconic running event in Taiwan. Fubon Financial and Fubon Life began sponsoring the marathon in 2010 in exchange for naming rights. As the event organizer, the city government listed its annual budget as NT$5 million and relied on sponsorship from Fubon and other private businesses for further funding.

However, information from the city’s Department of Sports showed that the department has not been keeping details of the accounts in recent years. In the marathon’s statement of revenue and expenditure last year, the city received NT$26 million in registration fees. Yet the event’s statement in 2010, showed that no registration fees were collected by the city.

The Chinese Taipei Road Running Association, co-sponsor of the marathon, has never provided a clear statement of revenue and expenditure for the annual event, Ho said.

“The financial statements of the marathon are a mess, and the registration fees can be seized by the association. How can the city government be unaware of these problems and let the association organize the marathon?” Ho said.

Deputy commissioner of the department Ting Juo-ting (丁若亭) acknowledged that the association did not include registration fees in the accounts in the past, but said the department had instructed the association to list the items starting last year.

The city’s Department of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said any sponsorship money should be wired to the city government before expenditures are made in accordance with the Government Procurement Act (政府採購法), and that the Department of Sports should clarify the marathon’s accounts.

Ho said he will seek to delete the budget for the marathon and send information to the city’s Department of Government Ethics and the Ministry of Justice for further investigation.

A total of 46,500 runners are to take part in this year’s competitive marathon, half-marathon and 9km run, according to the city government.