By Nick Said
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Durban has done enough to satisfy the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and retain hosting rights of the 2022 Games, the chief executive of the Games bid Tubby Reddy told Reuters on Thursday.
Durban was awarded the right to stage the Games in 2015 as the only remaining bidder, but concerns were raised around the funding of the event this week when South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula admitted the government could not agree with the CGF on the operational budget.
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But Reddy believes the bid committee has met the requirements of the CGF, who will make a final decision on Durban's hosting at a meeting on March 10, with Liverpool having already expressed an interest in taking over the Games.
"I am satisfied in my mind that we have done enough to keep the Games," Reddy said in a telephonic interview.
"We were asked to submit outstanding documentation by Nov. 30, which we did, and in my mind we have given the CGF everything they have asked for.
"It is now up to them to decide the way forward at their March 10 meeting."
Reddy would not be drawn on questions around the funding of the Games, but says the Durban offering was "compact", suggesting costs were unlikely to spiral out of control.
"The package presented to the CGF by Durban was compact – aside from an athletes village, everything else is already in place," he said.
Should the Games go ahead, the track and field events will be staged at the Moses Mabhida Stadium that was build ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup with thoughts of a Commonwealth Games and, ultimately, Olympic Games bid in mind.
Reddy admitted that in a country with high levels of poverty and communities in desperate need of basic services, the decision by government to fund the Games is a "difficult one".
"The arguments can be made for the benefits the Games would bring in terms of tourism and adding to the country's GDP (Gross Domestic Product), which can be significant," he added.
"Sports events have in the past proven an avenue for a country to raise revenue.
"But the other side is the question of do you spend this money on sports event when there are so many other issues in relation to housing, education, sanitation, and so on. It's a difficult one, some feel it is justified, others not."
(Reporting By Nick Said)