Source: www.insidethegames.biz

President Mahinda Rajapaksa unveiled the logo for Sri Lanka’s bid for ‘Commonwealth Games 2018 Hambantota’ at Temple TreesHambantota are reportedly paying British firm pmplegacy, part of the London-based Chime Communications, at least Rs. 336 million (£1.9 million) to help its the 2018 Commonwealth Games, according to Sri Lankan Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage (pictured left).

"In order to prepare the bid documents for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and for promotional campaigns we have offered the contract to a British PR Firm pmplegacy," Aluthgamage is reported saying the Sunday Leader.

"The exact amount is known to Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal as he is the chairman of the organising committee that handles the finances."

The Sunday Leader claimed that the money will come out of the Rs. 500 million (£2.8 million) Sri Lanka is paying public relations firm Bell Pottinger, another firm who are part of Chime, to boost its post-war image.

Its stablemate, pmplegacy, has a long and distinguished 25-year track record of working with leading cities around the world on the evaluation, bidding, planning and delivery of major sporting events.

The company has worked on a wide range of major events while some of its high-profile clients include the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing, the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Fifteen representatives from this pmplegacy are now said to be in Sri Lanka working on full time basis as they prepare the 2018 Commonwealth Games bid document from their Rajagiriya office.

Hambantota are up against Australia's Gold Coast in their bid to secure the 2018 Commonwealth Games with a decision set to be made on where the event will be held at a meeting in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11.

According to Aluthgamage, the deal with pmplegacy covers the cost for bid documentation, promotional campaigns, canvassing and entertainment costs.

"We will be holding the Asian Beach Games at Hambantota in August," he said.

"This would certainly help to boost the country's image.

"In addition the Cricket Board, the Foreign Ministry, Football Federation and National Olympic Committee are working closely to get support from the Commonwealth countries

The Sports Minister claimed that it is essential to raise awareness that Sri Lanka is no longer a war ravaged country.

"People in some countries fear to visit Sri Lanka," he said.

"We have to change this attitude.

"This can only be done through promotional campaigns."

If Sri Lanka wins the bid, the cost of hosting the games is expected to be a mammoth Rs. 500 billion (£3.12 million) which will mainly go towards building new stadia and constructing the Athletes' Village.

Peter Mann, the founder and chair of pmplegacy, told insidethegames: "Any figure agreed between the Hambantota 2018 bid team and pmplegacy is completely confidential."


 


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