Tromsø Olympiad Saved, Receives Extra State Funding

Tromsø Olympiad Saved, Receives Extra State Funding

| 4 | Chess Event Coverage

The Tromsø Olympiad is a go. Today Norwegian media report that there is enough support in the national parliament to allot an additional 12 million kroner (€ 1.47 million, US $2 million). The Olympiad organizers had asked for 15 million kroner, but with 12 million secured the Olympiad is not in doubt anymore. 

On April 14th, 2014 reported that the Tromsø Olympiad might be in trouble due to serious budget problems. 15 million kroner (1.8 million euros) were still missing, and the event was in danger of being cancelled. The budget problems were the result of miscommunication between the organizers and FIDE about the organization of the 2013 World Cup as part of the Olympiad bid.

A day later FIDE published on its website two letters to both the Chairman of the Organising Committee and the President of the Norwegian Chess Federation. The World Chess Federation expressed its “great concern” after receiving “many questions from Federations and the press.” FIDE Executive Director Nigel Freeman wrote: “Please confirm to us on behalf of the Organising Committee that there is no chance that the Tromso Chess Olympiad will be cancelled. Federations, Delegates and Commission members are not going to buy their tickets unless we get such a confirmation. So we need to put an end to all this speculation.”

The President of the Norwegian Chess Federation, Jøran Aulin-Jansson, responded to FIDE in Norwegian newspaper VG saying: “FIDE claims we had not included charges in our bid, but we claim we did include them. It is the same as they had during the Olympics two years ago.”

FIDE & Tromsø 2014 meeting
About a week later a delegation of FIDE met with the Olympiad organizers. An already scheduled meeting with Mr Freeman, FIDE Vice President Israel Gelfer, Chairman of Tromsø Chess 2014 Hans Olav Karde and Mr Aulin-Jansson took place. Afterward, Mr Freeman was quite positive, as quoted by local newspaper Nordlys:

“We are confident that they will resolve the situation. I think the event is organized very well. (...) There are always problems with Chess Olympiad events, and compared with previous organizers Norway and Tromsø are having far less problems.”

However, back then the chances that the Norwegian government would pay the extra 15 million kroner seemed slim. Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey said in another VG article: “You can not just come and ask for more money because you have not been able to get it. The premise of this was clear when they applied.”

Olympiad secured
But now it seems that the Norwegian politicians have changed their minds. Yesterday, during the live broadcast of the Norway Chess tournament, Mr Aulin-Jansson broke the news that the Olympiad had been secured: there was enough support in the Norwegian Parliament to allot an additional 12 million kroner to the Olympiad budget. Today Norwegian media confirmed this, and so did the official Olympiad Twitter account.

Øyvind Korsberg of the Progress Party told Nordlys: “ There is every reason to believe that there is a majority to allocate 12 million kroner extra to the Chess Olympiad. Labour, the Progress Party, the Liberals and the Christian Democratic Party secure a majority for it.”

The additional money for the Olympiad will be part of the revised national budget which will be presented on Friday, June 13th, 2014.

“12 million is on the way to 15 million, so now we can be absolutely certain that there will be an Olympiad in Tromsø,” Mr Aulin-Jansson told Aftenbladet. “We will work hard to find the three million deficit.”

“We have yet to hunt sponsors for 3 million, but we have so much tailwind that we will get it in place,” Mr. Karde told NRK.

Related news report

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