The International Olympic Committee are still predicting a Pyeongchang 2018 surplus ©Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have confirmed they are still expecting the Pyeongchang 2018 Organising Committee (POCOG) to announce a surplus despite reports in South Korea that Gangwon Province is mired in debt.

Christophe Dubi, the IOC's executive director for the Olympic Games, said in July that detailed financial figures showing that February's Winter Olympics achieved a multi-million dollar surplus would be revealed this month.

This positive outlook was in contrast to an article in The Chosun Ilbo, one of South Korea's biggest newspapers, which said last week that Gangwon had been left with "massive debts" due to Pyeongchang 2018.

It claimed "conflict with locals and unpaid wages" were major issues and also highlighted the risk of unused venues becoming white elephants.

"Most of the Olympic legacies have either been demolished or are gathering dust, causing a tremendous amount of disappointment for local residents," Choi Moon-soon, the Governor of the Province, said to The Chosun Ilbo.

"We need urgent financial support from the Government." 

No legacy plans have been finalised at the Gangneung Hockey Centre and the Gangneung Oval where speed skating took place, as well as the Jeongseon Alpine Centre.

This is a major concern for the IOC with Gangwon reportedly needing to pay KR₩20.3 billion (£14 million/$18 million/€16 million) to keep sporting facilities open until 2022.

According to The Chosun Ilbo, the Government has refused a request to take on 75 per cent of upkeep costs for fear of setting a "bad precedent" on the allocation of funds.

The Gangneung Hockey Centre is one of three venues with no legacy plan ©Getty Images
The Gangneung Hockey Centre is one of three venues with no legacy plan ©Getty Images

Any surplus would represent a remarkable turnaround as the Games were facing a $300 million (£225 million/€256 million) deficit when Lee Hee-beom took as over as Pyeongchang 2018 President from predecessor Cho Yang-ho in 2016.

"We understand that POCOG is still expected to close its books with a surplus as announced earlier by its President," an IOC statement said to insidethegames.

"As we have stated before, we have been very clear about the need for legacy plans for three venues - the final destination of the Jeongseon Alpine Centre, the Gangneung Ice Hockey Centre and the Gangneung Oval. 

"We continue to follow the legacy plans for these facilities."

The IOC did not mention the reports about Gangwon Province in its statement.

Other issues reported are a building subcontractor which hosted a press conference to demand KR₩8 billion (£5.5 million/$7 million/€6 million) they claim to be owed, with this dispute being handled by the Korea Fair Trade Mediation Agency.

Plans from Pyeongchang 2018 organisers for a four-story commemorative centre have also reportedly been shelved as the province has demanded a smaller project. 

"What we know is these Games are financially profitable and that is a great thing," Dubi said in July.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in was awarded the Olympic Order in gold by IOC President Thomas Bach last week.

This was due to his role in the apparent "great success" of Pyeongchang 2018.

Bach also claimed this month that the Games came close to being cancelled due to security fears on the Korean peninsula.