PGC chief executive defends housing athletes at Samoa 2019 Pacific Games in church compound

Pacific Games Council (PGC) chief executive Andrew Minogue has defended housing the majority of athletes competing at this year's Pacific Games in Samoa at a church compound.

Minogue told Radio New Zealand that it was a "big advantage" to have competitors "all in one place" at the event.

It follows concerns raised by countries such as Tahiti.

In January, organizers announced a "compound" owned by the country's Methodist Church will act as an Athletes' Village.

Originally the plan was to house all athletes in hotels but the vast majority will now stay in accommodation provided by the church in Faleula after organisers struggled to find sufficient providers.

Only weightlifting and boxing athletes will be housed in hotels, it has been reported.

"It's a big advantage actually to have all of the athletes in one place, like we had in Port Moresby [four years ago] and in New Caledonia in 2011," said Minogue. 

"The last time the Games were here [in 2007] all the athletes were housed in schools around the town."

Minogue added: "At Faleula everyone's going to be together - logistically that makes the task easier for the organisers and also for some of the Chefs as well. 

"Particularly for the bigger teams if they were in hotels they might have been split of two or three hotel properties [but] this time they're all going to be together."

Minogue's comments come after 13 of the 24 Pacific Games Associations inspected facilities, including the Athletes' Village, due to be used at the multi-sport event.

"When you look around town that's the most obvious thing because Apia Park, the aquatics complex and a couple of the other venues are being refurbished so, with four months to go, if you're looking at all the Games sites that's what you see," Minogue added.

"You see some construction being done - there's a new venue being constructed at Faleata for the netball and the badminton so yes obviously it's a priority to make sure they're finished."

Around 4,000 athletes are expected to attend the Games, scheduled to run from July 7 to 20.