The Puerto Rico Olympic Committee awaits for four million dollars to continue operating

In the image a record of the president of the Olympic Committee of Puerto Rico (Copur), Sara Rosario, in San Juan (Puerto Rico. EFE / Thais Llorca / Archive

San Juan, Jun 23 (EFE) .- The Olympic Committee of Puerto Rico (Copur) is waiting to receive, in the next week, the remaining 4 million dollars from a budget of 8 that the local government is supposed to grant to continue operating until December, as stipulated by a legislative measure.
This was indicated this Tuesday by the president of Copur, Sara Rosario, referring to Joint Resolution 182, signed in 2013 under the administration of Alejandro García Padilla, which establishes that the annual budget of the sports body will receive 8 million dollars to operate during the calendar year, from January to December.
However, as Rosario explained to a group of journalists, the Fiscal Oversight Board for Puerto Rico confirmed to Copur that it would receive $ 8 million at the end of the fiscal year from the Government – June 30.
But until this Tuesday the sports entity has only received 4 million, 2 of them in January and the other 2 in February.
“The Copur budget is a calendar year, from January to December. And that is why it is urgent,” Rosario said.
“Before we were not sure. And now, which is the first time and even so, the money has not just arrived,” he lamented.
Rosario said that today she sent “a last communication” to the Governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez, to find out some response to the matter.
“It is regrettable for others. We hope to have some reaction or positive news, because our athletes deserve support,” said Rosario, while saying that there are many athletes without financial aid because the professional leagues in which they compete canceled their tournaments for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It would be very sad if 4 million do not reach the coffers in times of such need,” Rosario emphasized.
The Olympic leader said that prior to this Tuesday, the last communication she had with the governor on this matter was on May 26.
Rosario also said that in November 2019, she met with the governor, of whom she said “she was very fanatical” about the sport and that after her meeting she left “very happy” with what they discussed and even optimistic that it was going to be solved the problem.
The 8 million dollars were stipulated in 2013, when García Padilla signed Joint Resolution 182, which establishes that Copur’s annual budget would rise “in stages” from 3.8 million to 8 million dollars.
Rosario explained that in 2017 Copur received 4 million, 2 in 2018 and 4 in 2019.
Given this, it is assumed that Copur has received the total of 32 million dollars, but only 14 million have arrived, so if the entity does not receive the remaining 4 million they hope to obtain in a week, the funds would total 18 unreached during the current quadrennium or Olympic cycle.
“It would be unfortunate if those who passed the 14 million would also go through the same door … Still we are here working hard,” said Rosario, who mentioned that according to Copur’s financial statements, 65% of its budget comes from Government and the remaining -35% – from private sponsors.
And given the possible lack of financial aid, Rosario said that Copur’s finances “are affected and we could turn red at the end of the year.”
“We cannot waste time and we would be affected by those athletes seeking qualification for Tokyo,” Rosario said, referring to the 2020 Olympics, postponed to 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our priority is Tokyo for classified and pre-classifieds. We hope to hear from you soon,” he added.
And in the face of monetary concern, Copur also hopes to increase sponsors with a view to preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
For his part, the director of the High Performance Department of Copur, Jaime Lamboy, stressed that economic aid is urgent, since from July to December the training camps of Puerto Rican athletes will increase with a view to Tokyo 2020 and they need that money to cover those expenses.
“The economic certainty of Copur and the delegation to the Olympic Games is crucial. Preparation from July to December is critical,” he said.
“By 2021 we will also need the funds, but specifically in that first quarter there will be the big qualifying events between April and June,” he added.
Lamboy, in turn, said that although during this Olympic cycle Copur has operated with less than 50% of its approved budget, the delegations have still exceeded the performance of the last cycle.
For this reason, he recognized that if Copur receives the remaining $ 4 million as of June 30, the chances of Puerto Rico reaching an Olympic medal for the third consecutive edition, will achieve a historical mark for the Caribbean island.
“And for that, the government contribution is essential,” he said.