Mac­cabiah en­try fees spi­ral

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY SI­MON GRIVER AND DAN­NY­CARO

PAR­TIC­I­PANTS in next year’s 18th Mac­cabiah Games will be forced to meet the costs of the event’s spi­ralling bud­get re­sult­ing from the strength of the shekel and the weak­ness of the dol­lar.

Meet­ing in Ra­mat Gan last week­end, the Pres­i­dents Fo­rum of the World Mac­cabi Union de­cided to in­crease par­tic­i­pants fees by $350 to $2,930. UK ath­letes will have to pay the ster­ling equiv­a­lent.

Par­tic­i­pants are also cer­tain to be hit by ris­ing fuel costs, given that the fee in­cludes ho­tels and trans­porta­tion in Is­rael but not air fares.

The or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee bud­geted $18 mil­lion for the Games two years ago at an ex­change rate of 4.2 to the shekel. Since then the Is­raeli cur­rency has strength­ened by al­most 20 per cent against the US cur­rency.

Mac­cabiah rep­re­sen­ta­tives from around the world re­luc­tantly agreed the price hike, which they an­tic­i­pate will raise an ad­di­tional $2.5 mil­lion. They will also ask the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment, cur­rently con­tribut­ing $2.5 mil­lion, for an ex­tra $500,000.

The Jewish Agency and other funds and spon­sors will main­tain their cur- rent con­tri­bu­tion of $1.5 mil­lion. “The main thing is that the Games will be go­ing ahead,” Mac­cabiah spokesman Yaron Michaeli said. “We had no choice oth­er­wise the Games would have been can­celled.

“Jewish com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives re­ported that there may be some can­cel­la­tions but we still ex­pect a record turnout.”

An un­prece­dented 7,000 par­tic­i­pants from Jewish com­mu­ni­ties around the world have reg­is­tered for the 2009 Mac­cabiah in­clud­ing 2,000 youths, eas­ily sur­pass­ing the pre­vi­ous record of 5,700 par­tic­i­pants at the 2005 Mac­cabiah. They will be joined by 2,000 Is­raeli ath­letes. Michaeli said that de­spite the re­vised bud­get and an­tic­i­pated in­creased in­come from the par­tic­i­pants and Is­raeli gov­ern­ment, there would still be a short­fall. “We will have to make lots of small cuts in the lo­gis­tics,” he ex­plained. But he stressed that there would be “no cost­cut­ting in mat­ters re­lated to safety and se­cu­rity”.

David Pin­nick, head of the Great Bri­tain Mac­cabiah or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee, com­mented: “We cal­cu­lated our price in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the fi­nal de­ci­sion made by our Is­raeli hosts five days ago and we can con­firm that the cost to our ath­letes re­mains the same. Name- ly, £2,795 for open and ju­nior ath­letes and £3,250 for masters. Sub­ject to no fur­ther ex­tra­or­di­nary and un­fore­seen levies and taxes which are be­yond our con­trol, th­ese prices are now fixed.

“We are still ex­pect­ing record num­bers of par­tic­i­pants from the UK and the num­bers of reg­is­tra­tions sug­gested by Is­rael is sim­i­larly op­ti­mistic.”

The In­ter­na­tional Mac­cabiah Com­mit­tee has granted Scot­land per­mis­sion to send an in­de­pen­dent del­e­ga­tion to the Mac­cabiah. Tra­di­tion­ally, they have trav­elled as part of the GB team but had asked to break away.

The team will be known as Mac­cabi GB Scot­land.

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