Athens, GRE – Four years after being awarded the right to host the 2013 Deaflympics, the Greek government has formally confirmed that it will not provide financial support for the games. The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf will now consider alternatives to Greece as a host country.
In a meeting with representatives of ICSD and the Hellenic Athletic Federation of the Deaf today, Greek Deputy Minister of Health and Social Solidarity Christos Adonis confirmed a decision taken by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou not to fund the Athens 2013 Deaflympics.
“Today’s decision is deeply disappointing,” said ICSD President Craig Crowley. “But the decision is also not a complete surprise, especially given the economic crisis in Greece at the moment. On becoming President, I was deeply concerned about the hosting arrangements for Slovakia, Athens, and Vancouver. Our athletes deserve to be able to train with certainty about their future competitions. ICSD is already working on possible alternatives to Athens in 2013. ICSD expects to make a formal announcement about alternatives before the end of July.”
The lack of government financial support for Athens 2013 was clear from an early stage. In its inspection report from July 2006, ICSD noted the absence of detailed financial commitments from the Greek government. ICSD wrote: “ICSD requires a letter of financial commitment from the Greek government at the time of the bid presentation in Salt Lake City.” The financial commitment was not provided.
A memorandum of understanding was later signed in early 2009, which contained no specific guarantees from the Greek government to finance the Deaflympics.
“ICSD has learned a valuable lesson about the importance of securing financial guarantees during the bidding phase, for deaf sports events. It’s a lesson that we will begin applying immediately, with regard to future Deaflympics,” added Crowley.
“For six years, we have worked as hard as possible to achieve our dream of hosting the world of deaf sport in Athens,” said HAFD President Ioannis Stoufis. “Under the present economic circumstances in Greece, that is simply not possible. On behalf of HAFD, I apologize for the inconvenience this decision will cause. But HAFD will continue to work to develop the deaf sport in Greece and to host deaf athletes from around the world in sporting competition. And we will try again to host the Deaflympics in the future.”