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  • Turin Update: Budget Woes Hit Paralympics


    TOROC CEO Cesare Vaciago in Lausanne last week.(ATR) 
    (ATR) The chief executive of the Turin Olympics says nagging budget problems could mean cuts for the Winter Paralympics next March. But Cesare Vaciago says he still believes money will come through to fully fund the Paralympics.

    Speaking Friday at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Vaciago warned that "some activities may be penalized" unless TOROC can close a funding gap believed to be in excess of 30 million euros. Within that budget gap Vaciago says is 20 million euros budgeted for the Winter Paralympics that has not yet been contractually obligated. The overall budget for the Turin Paralympics is 54 million euros.

    "The Paralympics will be done," insists Vaciago, who says he expects local governments will come up with money if the national government fails to deliver what has been promised to TOROC.

    If additional cuts are needed in the Paralympics, Vaciago says closing ceremony could be among the first budget items to be slashed.

    Vaciago appeared in Lausanne with Mario Pescante, government supervisor for the Turin Olympics as part of an overall report to the IOC Executive Board on the status of preparations with just over 100 days.

    While expressing disappointment that he could not do more about the changing Italy's drug laws to comply with the World Anti-Doping Code, Pescante said the situation in Turin was much better than a year ago when organizers were short 230 million euros.

    Cuts in programs and services and money from the national government have helped bridge the gap, although more money is needed, he says.

    Pescante still sounds an optimistic note for next February.

    ?I can assume that during the Games things will be perfect,? he says, speaking both about operations and the weather.

    Vaciago says despite work continuing on two important venues, plans for test events will not be affected. In the case of Stadio Communale, the s
    Mario Pescante says the Italian parliament will not lift anti-doping laws for Turin. (ATR) 
    ite of opening and closing ceremonies, the city is supposed to hand over the arena this weekend to enable ceremony preparations to begin.

    Next week test events for hockey begin at the Torino Esposizioni. With seating till being installed, only half of the arena?s 8,000 seats will be available for the tests, which will include men?s ice hockey as well as Paralympics sledge hockey.

    Luciano Barra, Pescante's deputy, notes that while there is often worry about Olympic venues being finished so close to the Games, he says the last-minute timing is desirable from a management point of view. Barra says once a venue is complete, it falls to the organizing committee to maintain and operate the venue, from electricity to security. The closer to the Games these venues are ready, the lower the costs for the organizing committee.

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