Gwangju’s ability to host the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships is looking shaky after the central government said it will not cover any costs.
The Gwangju Metropolitan Government is in a real fix since the budget for the competition has jumped from the original estimate of 114.9 billion won ($99.6 million) to 185 billion won.
The Ministry of Strategy and Finance is steadfast that it will not allocate any part of the budget to support the aquatic games.
It has blamed forged documents used to win the competition to host the championship in 2013.
In July 2013, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism accused Gwangju’s city government of forging documents that pledged financial support from the central government to the city for the games.
The Culture Ministry alleged that Gwangju Mayor Kang Un-tae and other city officials had been involved in forging the signatures of former Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and former Culture Minister Choi Gwang-sik to win the competition to host the World Aquatics Championships in 2019.
The revelation came only hours before FINA announced that Gwangju’s bid had won.
The Gwangju city government maintained that the forged signatures were the result of a staff member’s mistake and that it had replaced the forged letter with a proper one in June.
The central government vowed not to offer any financial assistance for the games.
Two Gwangju city officials, including Kim Yoon-seok, director of the bidding committee, were indicted with detention by the Gwangju District Prosecutors’ Office that September. But prosecutors did not charge Mayor Kang because of a lack of evidence that he had ordered the forgeries.
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