Tonga has pulled out of hosting the 2019 Pacific Games.
Reports from ABC Australia this afternoon confirm the Prime Minister of Tonga announced in Auckland that the country had decided to pull out, citing financial pressures.
Prime Minister Akilisi Pōhiva used a World Bank report which highlighted the economic difficulties Tonga could face if it went ahead with the games as evidence backing the decision.
“The Prime Minister has taken the advice and decided to pull out and save the country from making a costly mistake,” a spokesperson told the Kaniva News website.
“But Tonga would still continue renovating facilities and maintenance it has started to prepare its athletes for the Games including renovation of the Teufaiva national stadium, Tonga High School complex and Atele Indoor Stadium as well as the golf course.”
Despite the move, early reports suggest the decision is not final and Pacific Games authorities have already questioned the World Bank report cited by the Prime Minister.
It is also unclear what impact this decision will have on Solomon Islands’ plans to host the 2023 games.