Santiago, May 14 (IANS) Chile will not be among the hosts in the 2019 edition of the Dakar Rally due to a policy of fiscal austerity, although the country hopes to return to the motorsports competition in 2020, Chilean Sports Minister Pauline Kantor has said.
“We are facing a delicate financial situation, which is why we are implementing a very important austerity programme. This means we must focus our resources and use them in a responsible manner,” Kantor told the media on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency.
The minister said that various factors had led to the decision, including how to finance important social programmes and the country’s upcoming participation in international sporting events.
“We are facing an urgent need considering our children, our elderly and our athletes, who need to qualify for Lima 2019 (Pan American Games) and Tokyo 2020 (Olympic Games),” explained Kantor.
While Chile will not take part in Dakar 2019, “we are working to be present in 2020, along a route that allows us to have a course which respects our nature and our cultural heritage,” she explained.
The Chilean government announced a budget adjustment of $4.6 billion two weeks ago, described as a financial deficit.
Chile last participated in the Dakar Rally in 2015. Now the 2019 edition is set to traverse Bolivia and Peru, after Argentina also pulled out.