The extent of the debt incurred by the Sydney 2002 Gay Games remains a mystery this week, with organisers saying a final financial figure would come next week.

One source close to the organisers told Sydney Star Observer the final debt would be about $1.8 million. Sydney 2002 owed $800,000 to the state government, $200,000 to principal sponsor Qantas and a further $450,000 to the Federation of Gay Games, the source said.

Sydney 2002 co-chair Bev Lange partially rejected this. She confirmed Sydney 2002 owed $200,000 to Qantas and $450,000 to the Federation, but said the state government was owed less than $800,000. However, she did say that the three organisations were Sydney 2002’s largest creditors.

Lange would not be drawn on the final debt figure, saying Sydney 2002 was in negotiation with a range of organisations, including the Federation of Gay Games.

Questioned on the continuing delay in providing a final financial result, Lange said organisers had underestimated the time involved in the financial process. She said she was confident that a figure would be released in the early part of next week.

Sydney 2002 would go into volunteer mode from next week, Lange said, and the three remaining paid staff of Sydney 2002 would be released from their positions on Friday -earlier than anticipated. All staff entitlements had been paid, she said.

While Sydney 2002 organisers could hope for an income fillip from an upcoming auction of Gay Games memorabilia, sources said the collection of auction items had been valued between only $10,000 and $15,000.

A wide range of Games paraphernalia will go under the hammer at 10am on Tuesday 3 December at 16 Byrne Street, Auburn.

Auction items include the opening ceremony purple onions, workshop tools, T-shirts, caps, props and bags.

Unclaimed medals will also be up for sale. A spokesperson for the auctioneers told the Star that the collection included 10 gold, 180 silver, 270 bronze and 2,800 participation medals.

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