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Luxury stays and lost money: Audit Office slams Olympic Committee spending

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Luxury stays and lost money: Audit Office slams Olympic Committee spending

Small States Games

    The Cyprus Olympic Committee (COC) is facing criticism following a report by the Audit Office that raises concerns about spending practices during the 2023 European Small States Games (ESG) held in Malta.

    The report focuses on a situation where a limited number of COC officials (around four to five) were lodged in a luxury hotel, including a suite, while the primary accommodations for athletes and their escorts reached capacity.

    This resulted in over €6,600 being spent on official lodging and meals, with the report noting that some official rooms even had sea views.

    The COC maintains that the original hotel designated for the delegation became full, necessitating a last-minute relocation to the luxury hotel, which coincidentally also hosted the conference for Sports Ministers.

    However, the report raises questions about the justification for placing officials in luxury accommodations while the original hotel catered to the core delegation.

    Beyond accommodation, the audit identified other areas requiring improvement. The report details a daily gratuity system for delegation members, with varying amounts allocated to leaders, coaches, and athletes.

    A total of €37,345 was distributed to 265 individuals, including some who did not participate in the games.

    The COC anticipates the return of these gratuities from relevant sports federations, but the report highlights the need for clearer guidelines around gratuity distribution.

    The audit also identified instances where sponsors and media outlets received complimentary hospitality packages in the absence of a formal policy or contractual obligation.

    Another area needing attention is the COC’s management of sports equipment. The report found that the COC reportedly lacks a system to track remaining equipment, relying on estimates for distribution to delegations.

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