The Games of La Francophonie 2023 seriously compromised

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The Games of La Francophonie 2023 seriously compromised

Radio-Canada has learned that the Games of La Francophonie are seriously compromised due to delays in preparations.

The program Enquête and the office parliamentarian from Radio-Canada in Ottawa have learned that the Games of La Francophonie, which are to take place in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) next summer, could be cancelled, in particular due to missed deadlines, overruns costs and serious organizational problems.

According to documents obtained from a confidential source, on October 24, the Orientation Council of the International Committee of the Games of La Francophonie (CIJF) held an extraordinary session to take stock of the progress of preparations for the 9th Games. de la Francophonie, the signature event of the French-speaking world. It emerges that serious problems compromise the very holding of the Games.

The board noted significant delays both in the completion of various projects and in the implementation of all organizational sectors, it says.

On at least two occasions since the spring, the administrator of the OIF, Quebecer Geoffroi Montpetit, has traveled to the DRC to assess the situation. So far, the host country, through the mouth of its president, has been reassuring and has maintained that it is able to hold the Games. But Mr. Montpetit had then shown concern. After the presentation of the interim report, nothing seemed to be going well, so much so that a deadline was set to determine whether or not the Games could take place.

The council gave the DRC until November 15 to respond to a series of guarantees concerning such critical points as accommodation, catering, sports and cultural infrastructure, health, security, the issuance of visas and transport. The DRC must submit operational plans and a precise timetable for the work by then. Beyond this date, specify the documents received, it will be technically impossible, both for the DRC, the CIJF and the States and governments to hold or participate in the IX Games of La Francophonie.

The Policy Board recommends that the Congolese authorities ensure that the financial management of the CIJF is further tightened, in particular by rationalizing the salary scale and controlling staff costs. A sign that essential parts of the Games remain to be carried out, the council also wishes to obtain a map of the various sites and places of accommodation. We also ask the organizers to place orders for sports and scenic equipment now, to recruit a director of operations with proven experience in the management of major international events and to transmit a protocol for the ceremonies of the Games and for accompanying personalities. .

Another confidential source confirms that the OIF has indeed requested assurances for the holding of the Games, in particular in the form of operational plans, for accommodation, transport and security. Ultimately, it is the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie that will have to decide and determine whether, failing to obtain the requested assurances, the Games should be postponed or canceled altogether. It is due to meet on November 18.

“[Congolese officials] will never meet the deadlines and the Ministerial Conference will cancel. That's my humble opinion. »

— A confidential source at Radio-Canada

The decision could therefore fall during the Francophonie Summit on November 19 and 20 in Djerba, Tunisia. This case has the potential to overshadow the meeting that Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and François Legault are to attend.

Created in 1987 in Quebec during the Sommet de la Francophonie, the Jeux de la Francophonie are sporting and cultural competitions that bring together more than 3,500 young talents (aged 18 to 35) every four years, who have the French language as a common point. .

The current edition was supposed to be held in 2021, but it was postponed due to the pandemic. The previous Games were held in 2017 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The Games are estimated to attract around 541 million viewers.

How much has been invested so far? For the moment, impossible to know. But according to our information, the States, the donors, are informed of these problems. If we assume that the Games will be canceled (how could it be otherwise?), what will become of the millions of euros already injected?, asks our source. In the office of the new Quebec Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Martine Biron, they say they are aware of the situation of the Games of La Francophonie. We will follow the situation closely. Thursday evening, it was not possible to obtain a reaction from Ottawa or the OIF.

Originally, the cities of Moncton and Dieppe, New Brunswick, were designated to host these Games. But they finally gave up, because the costs of the organization were too high. Initially estimated at $17.5 million, they exploded a few years later, rising to $130 million in 2018. They fell back to $62 million in 2019. The City of Sherbrooke, which has also considered welcoming them, also gave up, estimating the costs at 52 million dollars.

Anyway, the expected decision could have serious consequences. According to our sources, if a decision were to be made, the Games of La Francophonie would be canceled, because it is impossible to postpone them due to the holding of the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024. The majority of athletes will not want to prepare for two major events the same year, we are told.

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