The National Olympic Committee is seeking to drastically cut costs for next year’s Southeast Asian Games in Thailand, after Prime Minister Hun Sen accused it of massively overspending at last year’s competition in Manila, an official said.
NOC Secretary-General Meas Sarin said Sunday that he will ask private companies to provide free sports gear for athletes for the 2007 SEA Games, adding that the bill for clothing in Manila was $15,000.
“We need to save as much money as we can,” Meas Sarin said. “Last year we spent a lot of money—$15,000 to buy sports uniforms, while air tickets from Phnom Penh to Manila, we could have bought for only $400 each, but they paid $460,” he said.
Meas Sarin, a CPP official, said Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who heads the NOC, was largely responsible for the overspending.
Prince Ranariddh said Saturday that he had the receipts to prove that he did not squander NOC cash.
“If there is any review of expenditures, please ask Meas Sarin because Meas Sarin is responsible,” the prince said in a speech at Funcinpec headquarters.
The 2007 SEA Games are to be held in December in the Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said last week that the NOC wasted nearly $1 million from fundraising projects that he had launched. He also said he would be diverting funds from the committee to the Cambodian Red Cross, which is headed by his wife Bun Rany. The International Olympic Committee told Reuters in Greece last week that it was investigating Hun Sen’s allegations against the committee.
Meas Sarin said it was too early to say how much the 2007 trip will cost, but added that he will be seeking funds from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
Sang Saran, director of finance at the Education Ministry, said the ministry provided more than $200,000 for the Manila games, and that he hopes the sum for the 2007 Games will be considerably less.
A total of 124 Cambodians attended Manila, 110 of whom were athletes, he said.
“Next year, the money will be cut because our Cambodian team will go by bus to Thailand, and Thailand will give a 20 percent discount for food [for the athletes],” he said.