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Tyrolean society in turmoil |  Seefeld with the repercussions of the 2019 World Cup: Responsibilities are too high and the Accounting Court criticizes

Tyrolean society in turmoil | Seefeld with the repercussions of the 2019 World Cup: Responsibilities are too high and the Accounting Court criticizes

The sword of Damocles hovers over the Tyrolean community of Seefeld, where the Nordic World Ski Championships were held in 2019. A report by the State Audit Office (LRH) on the financial situation of the municipality, its subsidiaries and the World Cup revealed: in addition to nine million euros in financial debts, The municipality is also responsible for 36 of the total €61 million. In liabilities from subsidiaries. When it comes to the World Cup, the Audit Office saw “a lack of clear cost and financing targets.”

The insufficient control and unrealistic planning of the project during the major sporting event, which apparently contributed significantly to the deep financial gap in the wealthy tourist community near Innsbruck, was also criticized in the published audit report, which was published by the newspaper “Tiroler Tageszeitung” and ORF Tirol. reported on Tuesday. Relevant documents, including those relating to the construction of the World Cup, are missing and have not been secured and archived. Although there has already been internal talk of sports infrastructure costs exceeding €30-35 million in 2015, it has been Only 17.8 million euros were allocated for financing in the main contract in 2016, TT cited the audit report, and the final bill was 31.2 million euros.

Total costs could rise to 15.5 million euros

Initially, Seefeld decided to make an investment contribution to the World Cup (sports facilities and transport infrastructure) of €4.5 million, but it has now risen to €8.8 million. According to the report on financing the World Cup, a loan of seven million euros had to be obtained in 2021. In total, the total costs could rise to 15.5 million euros, according to the State Audit Office.

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Meanwhile, the municipality said in a statement on infrastructure construction costs that “the lesson learned from dealing with the 2019 Nordic Ski World Championships is that such major events involve unforeseen risks for the public sector due to the lack of specialized knowledge in all areas of handling.” “, Therefore, the public sector should “only advise and support”. Incidentally, the agreement to take responsibility in the run-up to the 2019 Nordic Ski World Championships was based on verbal funding commitments at political level or on the instructions of the former Regional Advisor of ÖVP Johannes Tratter, who was in charge of community affairs at the time.

The World Cup and Seefeld’s unpleasant financial consequences have been a media topic for a long time. Throughout the year, repayment of the federal government’s eight million euros in funding has been a problem. The Tourism Association (TVB) paid three million euros in the form of a loan. Since TVB did not give its money as funding, the federal government saw the funding as being used inappropriately. That’s why there was a struggle to pay. Recently, community leadership – in coordination with the black and red state government and the state tourism department – ​​proposed a solution. However, this has so far been largely rejected by the federal government. The APA was told in October that “improvement needs were identified at some points” in the solution proposal submitted. The federal government is calling for funding requirements, especially for the Tourism Association to provide a grant of 2.5 million euros.

The Accounting Council sees “an urgent need to act”

In any case, the Audit Bureau clearly sees that there is an urgent need to take action given the general financial situation of the municipality. The bank debt of associated companies alone amounted to 55.3 million euros in 2022, more than six times the municipal debt. The auditors therefore pushed for special payments in order to reduce the risks faced by Seefeld and the overall burden of debt service contributions. The repayment obligation for a loan in Swiss francs obtained for the renovation of the Sports and Convention Center alone was said to have increased from 16.5 to 17.5 million euros despite the repayment. The loan must be repaid within the next ten years.

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The Austrian Ski Federation stresses that financial difficulties have nothing to do with the World Cup as such, and therefore one should not talk about the “World Cup budget.” He added: “There were no contributions to the World Cup budget from federal and local governments. In this regard, the use of the term ‘World Cup budget’ in this context is unfortunately misleading, as no local authorities have contributed financially to it,” says Christian Scherer. The Secretary General of the Swedish Football Association also points out that “unfortunately, in this discussion In public presentation, there is always a confusion between the World Cup budget, which was used to implement the major sporting event, and the expenditures for projects that improve the permanent infrastructure of the tournament.” The World Cup, the Ski Federation is not responsible for the latter.

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