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Tuesday 16 August 2011 | Published in Regional


Cabinet members will today decide whether to help the financially struggling Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC).

Cook Islands News understands CISNOC has asked government for financial help to the tune of more than $200,000.

Finance and sport minister Mark Brown could not schedule an interview yesterday due to prior commitments, but is expected to discuss CISNOCs fiscal problems and cabinets decision following its meeting this morning.

Prime Minister Henry Puna also arrived back in the country yesterday afternoon and Brown says he prefers to disclose details in collaboration with Puna.

CISNOCs dire financial position is outlined in a letter to all national federations of sport from the organisations secretary general Rosie Blake.

It states: CISNOC is in a critical cash position and cannot deliver existing Pacific Games programme commitments.

Blake explains CISNOC is unable to withdraw the countrys involvement in the 2011 Pacific Games, being held in Noumea, New Caledonia, from August 27 to September 10, but it needs $242,327 for airfares.

The entries for the Pacific Games have now closed and we are unable to withdraw from the events at this late stage without a significant penalty and loss of funds committed to the games team. Therefore reduction in the team size is not an option to CISNOC.

CISNOC considers it is in the national interest that Team Cook Islands maintains our proud history of participation at the Pacific Games and competes as planned.

National federations have met their obligations for the games, collectively raising $212,000 to fund code levies.

Blake says CISNOCs 2011 budget included a grant which it assumed would be allocated by government in its 2011-2012 appropriation.

This grant was not appropriated and the games budget is therefore seriously underfunded. We have negotiated support from government of a loan to e 2011 Pacific Games preparation that it cannot fund, is $160,000.

Blakes letter, dated August 11, asks for ratification by sports federations but appears to pre-empt governments approval.

I am pleased to report that this letter generally records the arrangements that have been concluded with government today to solve our cash crisis. The executive board has approved the resolutions below and, subject to national federations and governments agreement to these arrangements and the loan conditions, we can presume that we have secured the financial position of CISNOC and our 2011 Pacific Games team programme.

In past Pacific Games years funding has been split between three primary sources, with the expectation of equal proportions.

National sport federations have paid $228,000, CISNOC $190,000 and government $220,000.