The vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Friday warned against making excessive financial demands on hosts of the Youth Olympic Games, after costs for the inaugural event in Singapore went more than three times over budget.
The financial requirements of the games should not limit future host candidates “to the same relatively small, exclusive circle of (developed) countries capable of holding Olympic Games,” Thomas Bach said in Singapore.
“A country which is able to organize Olympic Games should therefore not be considered as a host for Youth Olympic Games,” he said.
Costs for the Singapore Youth Olympics skyrocketed in the run-up to the Games, prompting local critics to call the event “a waste of money”.
Originally estimated at 104 million Singapore dollars ($76 million), the budget was now expected to reach 387 million Singapore dollars, the government said.
However, it maintained that the Youth Olympics would leave a legacy of newly constructed or refurbished sport facilities, benefiting all Singaporeans.
Bach said the IOC had no objections if a host nation used the Youth Olympics as an occasion to improve its sports infrastructure and institutions with its own money.
But the IOC had to stick to its policy that it did not demand new facilities like stadiums and an athletes’ village for the Youth Games, he said.
“This cannot be a decision criterion,” Bach said.
The German vice president of the IOC said he was thrilled by the Singapore Games, which kicked off on Saturday and are set to run until August 26.
The concept of the Youth Olympics, combining competitions in 26 sports with an educational programme for the 3,600 participating athletes aged 14 to 18, had “worked out magnificently,” Bach said.
New formats, including 3-on-3 basketball and a triathlon mixed team relay, had been popular with both athletes and spectators, he said.
If this success was picked up by international sports unions, Bach said, there might also be changes in the Olympic programme.