DCC underwrites U20 tournament

The Dunedin City Council will honour its pledge to underwrite part of the cost of hosting matches during next year's Fifa Under-20 World Cup tournament.

The decision was confirmed by councillors at Monday's council meeting, meaning the council would pay an extra $20,000 to cover a shortfall in funds gathered by Football South.

Football South had agreed to raise $125,000 to contribute to tournament costs, on top of the council's contribution of $150,000 in cash and $160,000 in non-cash assistance for the event.

The association had also hoped to secure a $50,000 grant from the Community Trust of Otago, on top of its own contribution, but only received $30,000.

That left a $20,000 shortfall to be covered by the council, which had earlier agreed to underwrite that portion of the funding due to the uncertainty surrounding the grant.

On Monday, councillors approved the payment after hearing Football South remained confident of reaching its own fundraising goal.

Football South chairman Matthew Holdridge told the meeting the association had already raised $62,000 from clubs, corporate sponsors and individuals, and planned more fundraising events and grants requests.

It did not ''envisage'' asking the council for more money, despite a suggestion from council staff a request could follow at next year's council budget meetings, Mr Holdridge said.

He was hopeful the association would reach its $125,000 fundraising goal, but it also had a ''small surplus'', worth $165,000 last year, to draw on if needed.

''We reserve the right, potentially, to use that surplus if our fundraising over the next six months doesn't achieve that.''

In the meantime, the council's $20,000 underwrite would be paid from an authorised overspend and recouped from its expected end-of-year surplus.

Cr Lee Vandervis questioned where the money would be found if the council did not have an end-of-year surplus, but council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said that was unlikely.

The debate came after the council earlier baulked at the prospect of an almost $1 million tournament bill, before negotiating a more favourable deal which secured seven games at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The tournament is expected to draw more than 9000 fans to New Zealand, along with a television audience of more than 170 million people across 100 countries.

Mr Holdridge told Monday's meeting the event would bring direct and indirect benefits to Dunedin, saying three city hotels were already booked for the event.

More details would be known when the tournament's draw was announced in Auckland on February 9 next year, he said.

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