Chilean Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro believes "everything will go smoothly and we can finish on time" when asked about the launch of a commission to look into potential irregularities with the running of the Games ©MINEPS VII

Chilean Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro is unconcerned by an investigation into the management of the Pan American and Parapan American Games in Santiago, claiming "everything will go smoothly and we can finish on time".

An investigative commission has been formed by the lower house of the National Congress of Chile to assess possible irregularities in the running of the Games.

The inquiry has been launched amid concerns over the management following an increase in budget for the event and delays in preparations.

The commission has been tasked with collecting information about the activities of the Chilean Sports Ministry and the National Sports Institute related to the Games between 2018 and 2023 before delivering a report within 90 days.

Pizarro, who replaced Alexandra Benado as the country’s Sports Minister in March this year, is head of the Board of Directors for Santiago 2023.

"A commission is set up and working," the former Chilean international footballer told insidethegames.

"For me, we all know that it is a big public investment in order to prepare all these venues and our organisations.

"It’s a very big event.

"It’s not the same as Guadalajara 2011 and Lima 2019 which were not that big.

"I think the main issue for us was pandemic times as we had a shortage in resources but made some delay.

"I think everything will go on smoothly and we can finish on time."

Preparations for Santiago 2023 have been hit by delays while organisers have also faced criticism over an increase in budget ©Santiago 2023
Preparations for Santiago 2023 have been hit by delays while organisers have also faced criticism over an increase in budget ©Santiago 2023

Public investment has increased by 153 per cent compared to the figure projected five years ago by the Chilean Sports Ministry.

It was previously forecast to reach around $200 million (£157 million/€182 million) before estimations rose to $400 million (£313 million/€364 million) in the middle of 2018 and then $507 million (£398 million/€462 million) in 2020.

An audit is expected to be complete next Friday (July 7) for the release of an additional $111 million (£88million/€102 million) in public funds.

"We have already thought about this budget issue," said Pizarro.

"We worked on it and did it in order to finish in time.

"I don’t think we need to increase our budget as everything will be covered.

"We just need to execute the Games."

There has already been a change in leadership under Pizarro with former FIFA official Harold Mayne Nicolls appointed to become the new executive director of Santiago 2023 after under-fire Gianna Cunazza was axed.

Pizarro has said work on all the venues is expected to be completed by September to ensure they can hold test events before the Pan American Games are due to open in October.

"We are making preparations for Santiago 2023 so everything is going on," said Pizarro.

"We have different spaces with different disciplines and organisational issues we are solving.

"I would like to note that the infrastructure is the main issue for us as it requires some important investment to make them get better.

Chilean Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro hopes to stage test events in all venues by September ©ITG
Chilean Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro hopes to stage test events in all venues by September ©ITG

"During the pandemic time we had some delays but I would like to highlight that we are going on very well and in the recent future we are going to open these infrastructural spaces."

A total of 41 venues in 19 Chilean districts are due to be used for next year's Pan American and Parapan American Games.

Competitions are set to be staged in the Metropolitan, Valparaíso, O'Higgins and Biobío regions of the country.

The National Stadium Sports Park in the Ñuñoa district of Santiago features 12 venues for the Games, including the main Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos.

"We don’t have any big issues with the venues but we need some time optimisation in order to finish everything and make implementations so sports people can go there to try these venues before we make the Opening Ceremony," said Pizarro.

"We are having a big help from companies which are helping us to make all these works and refurbishment in these venues.

"We have got the big National Stadium Sports Park which has different venues like the centre of tennis and athletics stadium.

"We have to work simultaneously so it is basically about coordinating all the problems to finish all at the same time.

"We expect three main things.

"First of all, we want the Chilean athletes to be successful and gain some medals.

"Secondly, we wish to have a lot of countries to visit this event and participate to create an international environment.

"Thirdly, for our community it will be a challenge to get themselves competitive after these Games."

Santiago is scheduled to stage the Pan American Games from October 20 to November 5, followed by the Parapan American Games from November 17 to 26.