Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hong Kong Lawmakers Reject Games Bid Hong Kong Lawmakers Reject Games Bid

SINGAPORE - NOVEMBER 15: Chief Executive of Ho...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
HONG KONG—The government here suffered an embarrassing defeat in its effort to host a high-profile international sporting event as an overwhelming majority of lawmakers voted down funding for the project.
The territory's Legislative Council voted 40 to 14 Friday against spending 6 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$771 million) to upgrade sports facilities in the former British colony. Support for that measure was crucial in order for Hong Kong to submit a formal application to host the Asian Games in 2023 before the Feb. 15 deadline.
The Asian Games, also called Asiad, have been held every four years under the supervision of the International Olympic Committee since 1951. The 2010 games were held in Guangzhou, China, and the next games will be held in Incheon, South Korea. Within Asia, they are considered second in status and significance only to the Olympics as a sporting event in which the region's countries compete.
Legislators worried about the price of holding the games and questioned the government's priorities at a time when other livelihood issues are of greater public concern. In particular, rising property prices are making it difficult for many Hong Kongers to find affordable housing. The government slashed its budget request after public outcry over its initial HK$13.8 billion price tag in September.
That figure was just for operating costs. The government said they would need another HK$30 billion to renovate the city's sports facilities. Revenue from ticket sales, merchandising and sponsorships of HK$700 million to HK$860 million would cover only a fraction of costs, according to the government's own estimates.
The defeat comes after rival Doha, Qatar, beat Hong Kong to host the 2006 games.
Surveys found public opinion evenly split on support for the Games bid, despite a campaign by Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang, the city's top leader, and Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing. Public appearance by Hong Kong athletes failed to sway lawmakers.
Even lawmakers from the pro-Beijing, pro-business Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which usually allies with Mr. Tsang, didn't support his efforts.

Digg Google Bookmarks reddit Mixx StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Buzz DesignFloat Delicious BlinkList Furl

0 comments: on "Hong Kong Lawmakers Reject Games Bid Hong Kong Lawmakers Reject Games Bid"

Post a Comment