The organising of the 2011 Winter Deaflympic Games was under the control of non-governmental entities and private individuals who planned the event without receiving consent from the Education, Science and Sports Ministry, states a release from the ministry provided to the media on February 14, the TASR newswire reported.
The Slovak Association of Deaf Athletes (SZNS) expressed interest in Slovakia hosting the event as early as 2005 but the ministry issued its disapproval of the country's candidacy because of high costs and did not pledge backing for it, the ministry wrote.
Even without government support, SZNS vied to host the event and the US-based International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) eventually backed its bid. The ministry’s statement said it had not changed its earlier view and stated the current scandal is the responsibility of the Slovak Deaflympics Committee and the ICSD, adding that the state bears liability for international sporting events only if it subsidises the organising of such an event.
The 2011 Winter Deaflympic Games were supposed to be held in the High Tatras later in February but were cancelled amidst a scandal involving the organisers' shortage of funds to host the event. The head of the Slovak Deaflympics Committee, Jaromír Ruda, is alleged to have embezzled €1.7 million earmarked for the event, with a court in Banská Bystrica already looking into the matter.
In a statement on February 14, Ruda rejected claims that he has been dodging responsibility for the collapse of the games. "I'm aware of all ramifications that have been caused by the cancellation of the Deaflympic Games. I have never absconded ... what I find important for me, rather than responding to questions put forward by the media, is to set about immediately making up for the repercussions and securing funding in order to settle all debts as soon as possible," reads the statement issued by Ruda.
He further stated that the main reason for cancelling the event was the fact that the organisers failed to secure funding in time. "I received information in January that I would receive the required funding by the end of February, which is obviously too late, though," Ruda told TASR.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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