FOR THE first time in 20 years, Slovakia will not have an official representative house at the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, after the Slovak Olympic Committee (SOV) said it could not afford it.
“There will be no Slovak House in Sochi,” SOV spokesman Ľubomír Souček told the Hospodárské Noviny economic daily, explaining that the committee found the price offers unacceptable when the Russian organisers demanded several times more than the London games organisers in 2012 (€565,000) for renting the space.

Souček claimed there was no interest among the sponsors to support the house.

“The organisation of the promotion is usually assigned to an agency composed of sponsors,” Souček said, as quoted by Hospodárské Noviny. “Due to their lack of interest however, it wasn’t even set up this year.”

But company sponsors claim the contrary.

“The SOV did not give the businesses any motivation to even consider any form of help,” businessman and head of the Machine Industry Association of Slovakia, Alexej Beljajev, told Hospodárské Noviny. Several companies confirmed for the daily that they would be interested in presenting themselves in Russia.

Observers say this is a lost opportunity for Slovakia to present itself, its sports and its business community, Hospodárské Noviny wrote.

If Slovak athletes win medals at the games, they will probably celebrate in the Czech House, the daily wrote. The Czechs will have their own house in Sochi given that they requested more state support. In contrast, in Slovakia the ministries did not consider giving further financial assistance to the SOV, according to Hospodárské Noviny.