Tonga Withdraws From Hosting 2019 Pacific Games Over Funding Concerns
Tonga reportedly withdrew from hosting the 2019 Pacific Games over "funding concerns," according to Amlan Chakraborty of REUTERS. The cost of organizing large-scale multi-sports events "deterred bids from many prospective hosts in recent years" and a spokesperson for the Tongan cabinet said that President Akilisi Pohiva decided against making the "costly mistake." Pohiva's decision was "influenced by a World Bank report that predicted Tonga would face economic difficulties" if it staged the quadrennial games that were first held in Fiji in '63. The spokesperson added, "We cannot afford that large amount of money and we do not have the number of people and sport events to use these facilities from time to time to generate funds for the upkeep" (REUTERS, 5/16).