Roman Gotsiridze: “The construction of the new Sports Palace exceeds the initial tender estimate by 20 million.”

Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Roman Gotsiridze’s statement is TRUE.

The construction of a new Sports Palace, meant to accommodate 10,000 spectators for the 2021 EuroBasket Group Tournaments in Georgia, was initially announced in 2019.

However, the tournament was postponed to 2022 due to the pandemic, consequently, leading to a delay in construction. Whilst the cost of construction was originally estimated at GEL 70 million, the cost incurred later increased by GEL 20 million to GEL 90 million as Kamil Novak, the Executive Director of FIBA, expressed dissatisfaction with the delayed completion in December 2021. Considering all of the above, FactCheck concludes that Roman Gotsiridze’s statement is TRUE.

Analysis: Whilst commenting on the major infrastructure projects in Tbilisi in a social media post, Roman Gotsiridze, a member of the Eurooptimists parliamentary group, asserted that the construction of all of these projects experienced delays and exceeded their respective initial budgets. The MP cited the new Sports Palace as an example, stating: “GEL 20 million more was spent on the new Sports Palace alone as compared to what was initially stated.”

Two new sports palaces were built in Tbilisi over the past decade. The first, dating back to 2015, was built on University Street for the European Youth Olympic Festival whilst the second, as referenced by Mr Gotsiridze, was built adjacent to it for 2021 EuroBasket.

Georgia got the rights to host the 2021 EuroBasket Group Tournaments alongside Germany, the Czech Republic and Italy in July 2019.

The main hall of the new Sports Palace in Saburtalo was initially intended to host 15,000 spectators, later reducing to 10,000.

The construction budget was originally set at GEL 71 million. LLC Sportsmshenservice, operating under the Ministry of Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports, signed a contract worth GEL 70.8 million with LLC Saba Construction (with GEL 800,000 intended for design and GEL 70 million for construction). The contract specified that the construction of a multifunctional sports complex with a capacity of 10,000 spectators had to be finished by 30 May 2021.

The tournament was postponed by a year to 2022 due to the pandemic, resulting in a one-year delay in the deadline for construction.

The Executive Director of the International Basketball Federation, Kamil Novak, expressed discontent with the construction pace on behalf of FIBA during his visit to Tbilisi in December 2021.

LLC Sportsmshenservice requested an additional GEL 20 million from the State Procurement Agency in the six days following Kamil Novak’s visit. The agency approved the request, bringing the budget to GEL 90 million.

The new Sports Palace was eventually opened in June 2022 and held the first game in the new hall between Georgia and Spain on 4 July. The sports complex hosted the Europe Tournament in September.

Considering the need to increase the budget by GEL 20 million, to finish construction which is an increase of approximately 30%, FactCheck concludes that Roman Gotsiridze’s statement is TRUE.


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