"These negative critics coming from New Zealand is pathetic. Don’t make up stories if you don’t want to play by claiming that the venue is substandard or have squeezed up draws for the games." Mr. Tkatchenko was responding to critics made by Hudson in Sunday Star Times newspaper saying that the venues of the Pacific Games in Port Moresby as ‘crazy’ substandard conditions and crammed schedules.
Tkatchenko said New Zealand as well as other Pacific Islands were consulted and all agreed to go by in the respective sports that were on offer.
"If New Zealand is not happy, then they will have to go and ask the people that represented them. Football was consulted religiously with FIFA and they should consult themselves as we are going ahead with what they have asked us to stage," the Sport Minister said.
Pacific Games football will feature the Under-23 national teams as this will be used as the Rio Olympic qualifier for 2016. The All Whites is concerned now that the set up for the tournament particularly for football is organised poorly.
Hudson was quoted saying: "It is crazy. I feel underwhelmed by just how poorly it has been set up with no consideration for football or the players. I am shocked because this would not happen anywhere else."
It is understood the NZ football team will not be staying at the Games village because it is not an acceptable standard to live in while the Australian team will be staying at the Games Village.
The Sunday Star Times newspaper reported that their (NZ) Under-23 men will be forced to play five matches in 10 days on a field that was grassed two months ago.
"There has been a huge concern. It’s really, really poor. You have got five games in 10 days – this is unheard of. I have never experienced this anywhere in the world football," Hudson said.
However the recent UEFA Under-21 tournament just completed played five matches in 13 days and most tournaments see off five matches in 11 days. In PNG the football matches will see matches in 10 days – one day difference.
"Everything was done according to what they all wanted. All programs were done in consultation with the organisations of the different sporting codes. So if they are complaining they have to go and see who represented them," Tkatchenko said.
"The venues particularly the playing field at Bisini oval were done by Australian experts who were well over qualified to do the grounds and if they are criticising then they must be criticising the Australian experts."
The recent outbursts from New Zealand is not the first. New Zealand football has been complaining since PNG became the host of the Pacific Games especially when FIFA decided at the end of last year, in consultation with the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) to use the PG as Olympic qualifiers in order to save for two tournaments.
It is believed that New Zealand football have raised issues to suit their own needs in the Pacific but cared less about Island countries needs when it comes to tournaments. Island countries just turn up to play in whatever conditions provided.
Australia and New Zealand will be participating in this year’s XV Pacific Games challenge. It is believed New Zealand will send 65 athletes which includes 23 for Football, 35 for weightlifting and seven for Taekwondo.
Meanwhile, participants from the Pacific Island countries have started arriving in Port Moresby. His Highness Prince Andrew is expected to arrive on Thursday to open the Paciifc Games on Saturday. [PNGFacts]