One-page letter dated January 3, signed Neven Ilic, president of Panam Sports, said Colombia will no longer host the 2027 Pan American Games.unleashed the first political storm of the year, opened several trial scenarios at home and abroad, unleashed versions from officials of two governments and is already underway. announcements about discussing a vote of no confidence in the Minister of Sports and requests for information from regulatory authorities to establish disciplinary and even financial responsibility.
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The news hit the country like a bucket of cold water, and was especially felt in the Atlantic. where sporting events will be held and where progress has already been made in developing the infrastructure to host participants.
Although the official notice clearly states that due to Colombia’s non-compliance with the contract signed on August 27, 2021, which designated Barranquilla as the host city, the city’s newly inaugurated mayor, Alex Char said that the government of President Gustavo Petro is making efforts to restore the organization of the Games.
From sources in the EL TIEMPO palace it became known that Peter, in a short message, asked his government team to do everything possible to resume sporting events. One measure could be to invite Chilean President Gabriel Borich to act as a mediator with the head of Panam Sports, also a Chilean.
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Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Office has opened a preliminary investigation and asked Sports Minister Astrid Rodriguez to explain the reasons that led Panam Sports to take the decision, the reasons for which the company says it did not comply with, and the economic consequences of not complying with the decision. -compliance with requirements, implementation of the event.
For his part, Luis Enrique Abadia, Deputy Comptroller and Acting Comptroller General, said that Since October last year they have been convening working groups to study the issue for which specific obligations have been identified, and have since warned about the loss of resources.
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In fact, the official warned of the risk of losing more than two million dollars advanced by the city of Barranquilla. This is due to the fact that the provisions of paragraph. The contract will work in favor of Panam Sports in case of violation of the agreement.
The contract, known to this newspaper, notes that if Panam Sports receives payments, they will “remain as assets” of the company unless Colombia receives payments.
Former State Council judge Carlos Alberto Zambrano told EL TIEMPO that in contracts of this type, companies usually make it clear what happens in case of non-compliance.
“The most likely sanction is the loss of money, in which case the person responsible will be the City Hall of Barranquilla, the Atlántico Government, the Ministry of Sports or the State, as agreed in the contract.Zambrano said.
Likewise, if a case arises where the loss of resources is attributed to Barranquilla, Those officials who did not ensure that this obligation was fulfilled will be held responsible.
“If, on the other hand, this money is lost due to the fault of another person, for example the Colombian nation or the Olympic Committee, it will definitely be their responsibility and, in my opinion, Barranquilla will have the opportunity to file a claim to recover money lost as a result of such a scenario.“explained former Judge Zambrano.
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At the same time, several voices in Congress called for Astrid Rodriguez’s resignation. In fact, the opposition has already announced that it will express a vote of no confidence in the minister and that the official will be summoned for political control.
Senator David Luna of the Radical Party of Cambio and the representative of the Democratic Center Andres Forero announced a challenge to the government official Petro.
“This title, presented by Panam Sports, represents special recognition for a country that has demonstrated an unconditional commitment to the sporting development of the continent. In 2018, we were pleasantly surprised by the organization of the Central American and Caribbean Games. Then they believed in us and, despite the pandemic, they put in incredible effort and work in the lead-up to the First Youth Pan American Games in California 2021, which made us very happy and motivated.This was stated by Neven Ilic at the event held in Barranquilla in August 2021, where Colombia was officially recognized as the host of the Games.
The then-president was on stage that day Iván Duque, Governor Atlántico, Elsa Noguera, Mayor of Barranquilla Jaime Pumarejo and President of the Colombian Olympic Committee (COC) Ciro Solano, who in principle carried out the first stage of organizing the Games.
From August 2022, with the change of Government, the issue that was the subject of connection, This became the responsibility of officials appointed by President Peter.
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And on August 30 last year, the first significant warning of non-compliance was received, in which the outcome was already foreseen and in which a period of 60 days was given to resolve the situation. In a letter published RCN FM It is mentioned that they could unilaterally decide to withdraw the Colombian headquarters of the Games and, in addition, “seek compensation for any damages and any other rights and remedies.”
The message also refers to two previous letters dated September 16 and November 15, 2022 and mentions that “they were in serious breach of contract.”
In particular, the letter mentions that the organizing committee has not been created, four million dollars corresponding to the right to organize, payment of four million dollars for the provision of media rights, submission of a work schedule and a detailed budget of the Games for approval and an insurance policy of 50 million dollars have not been paid.
On October 26 last year, Panam Sports sent a new letter warning that violations would continue and therefore It “automatically revoked the extension of time granted to cure violations of the Host City Contract” specified in the first letter.
Faced with non-compliance, Minister Astrid Rodriguez responded at a press conference: “This contract has been concluded since 2021, payment is made this year. No payment will be made in 2022. In 2023 we resumed negotiations to show our desire to see how to continue with the headquarters and we were ready to pay the 2022 payment in December, but due to cash flow we were unable to do so, so we decided to do so in January ($8 million.”
He added that meetings with Panam Sports confirmed the government’s readiness to move forward with organizing the Games.
Veteran leader Balthazar Medina, who served as president of the COC, was not very optimistic about the restoration of the Games site and spoke of a chain of mistakes in the process.
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“First, it is not punctuality in fulfilling obligations. The previous government supported the headquarters’ achievement, but did not specify the Conpes document, and that’s where it all started. The fact is that the headquarters was not given to the city, it was given to the country, and this was also not understood“Medina said.
And he added that “the government cannot ignore its obligations to the country, the Games belong to the country, not to the region or city. This is also the responsibility of the KOC because they have international relations with these other countries.” there was no clarity at the time to have the resources.”
Duque’s government sports minister Ernesto Lucena said of the first payment that it was due a few days before the new government took office and that he understood the extension was requested as a courtesy.so that the new government will do this and they will not be caught off guard by such a high payment.” When I left the ministry, the creation of Conpes was indicated in connection. I don’t know what happened.”
In X: @JusticiaET
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