Sport: TASANOC says funding problems are sorted
Tonga's Olympic Committee denies being bankrupt and says it's on course to have full funding resumed from the IOC.
The Tonga Amateur Sports Association and National Olympic Committee says claims the organisation is broke and dysfunctional are all a misunderstanding.
Tonga's Prime Minister, 'Akilisi Pohiva, told parliament last week the government had lost faith in the operations of TASANOC, because it had no money and was unable to function properly.
But Tonga and Oceania's Olympic Committees say that's not the case.
Vinnie Wylie reports.
The Prime Minister claimed TASANOC was unable to pay its electricity and water bills, staff salaries or any of its debts. The President of Tonga's Amateur Sports Association, Lady Robyn Tu'ivakano, acknowledged the organisation went into overdraft after the Oceania National Olympic Committee withheld financial support last year.
LADY ROBIN TU'IVAKANO: "We have had problems in updating our reports, which we have done. In everything we ask government for assistance and we had proposed three months ahead the amount to government to help us because at the time we had been blocked from ONOC our funds coming in so they gave it in five sums, so yes they did know that we had no money."
The President of the Oceania National Olympic Committee, Robin Mitchell, said funding from the IOC has been suspended since the middle of last year however regional funding was recently resumed.
ROBIN MITCHELL: "After our first visit we started sending through some money from our Guam office - continental funds that are managed by the ONOC office. Funding from IOC hasn't been resumed until the draft constitution gets through IOC some time this week."
Robin Mitchell and ONOC Secretary General Ricardo Blas attended last week's extraordinary general meeting in Nuku'alofa, where amendments were made to update the constitution, and are confident TASANOC is now on target.
ROBIN MITCHELL: "The red flags come up in Tonga's instance because one of the programs they hadn't reported on was as far back as 2012. When we were there earlier in the week all except one were completed and they would send a copy of that to [the IOC in] Switzerland and one to [ONOC's office in] Suva, and once Switzerland clears it the World Funding programme is turned on again."
Lady Tu'ivakano says they have one week to meet the IOC's demands.
LADY ROBIN TU'IVAKANO: "We've got a timeline and by the 15th we have to upgrade, revise our constitution and that's it. We've got our first draft, we just have to consolidate and send it back to IOC for approval and we've got our AGM lined up for March and we will adopt the constitution and that's it."
If Tonga does not meet the February 15th deadline the Kingdom would not be able to go to the Rio Olympics and athletes would have to compete under the Olympic flag.
ONOC says it is in almost daily contact with Switzerland.
But it says Tonga's issues with funding for the 2019 Pacific Games is an internal matter and not to do with ONOC or the IOC.
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