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Deloitte is official partner of inaugural YOG in 2010

ONE of the Big Four auditing firms, Deloitte Singapore, is stamping its mark on the local sporting scene in a big way.

The company was unveiled yesterday as the first official partner of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore, which will be held in August 2010.

Chaly Mah, chief executive of Deloitte Asia-Pacific, said at a press conference that the deal would involve a sum 'in excess of a few million dollars' comprising cash and in kind, and would allow the company to provide its full suite of consultancy services in the run-up to and during the two-week sporting event.

These include programme management, games impact assessment, internal audit, tax, accounting and financial advisory, he said at the signing ceremony of the memorandum of intent.

Explaining Deloitte's decision to come in as a major sponsor of the YOG, Mr Mah said that as companies struggle to cope with the impact of the global economic slowdown, it would be 'tempting' for businesses to focus on short-term priorities and not invest in the future.

'This will be a mistake. I believe in times like these, we should continue to innovate ourselves and find new ways to do business and invest in the development of the next generation,' he said. 'From that perspective, we have our agenda on the development of youth. We hire a lot of young people in our organisation, and they are an important investment for us.'

Deloitte is no stranger to sports, however. It is also the official partner for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, as well as the London 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games. The YOG itself will feature 3,500 athletes aged between 14 and 18, competing in 26 different sports.

Ng Ser Miang, chairman of the YOG organising committee, said that with Deloitte as the exclusive consultancy services partner locked in, the focus now is to try and get more big-name companies on board as official partners, such as those from the airline, sports apparel, logistics and energy sectors.

Giving an update on the committee's target to hit $50 million in sponsorship, organising committee chief executive Goh Kee Nguan said that while companies are becoming more cautious, the interest level in supporting the YOG has not waned.

'We are talking to a few companies, and are in the final stage of discussions. We hope that more will come forward for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Singapore and to be part of the Olympic family,' he said.

Mr Ng said that things are not so bleak that they would have to look to the government for help just yet. 'We will be looking at different options first before going back to the government. We look at the possibility of meeting the budget; and if we can't, we'll look at ways and means to scale down or tighten costs a little. We aim to deliver a successful Games, but not an extravagant one,' he said.