The Francophone Games in Kinshasa were twice delayed from 2021 ©Getty Images

This year's Francophone Games in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa went seven times over budget, it has been revealed.

A budget of $48 million (£39.6 million/€45.3 million) had initially been earmarked for the multi-sport event, twice delayed from 2021 due to COVID-19 and delays to preparations, but the host nation's Minister of Finance Nicolas Kazadi has reported it ultimately cost $324 million (£267 million/€306 million).

Kazadi has blamed the Organising Committee, known as the National Francophone Games Committee (CNJF), for poor management of the event and significant cost overruns, claiming "the people tasked with doing the work were not as efficient as expected", as reported by Reuters.

The CNJF has angrily hit back at Kazadi, describing itself as "deeply surprised and very astonished" at his comments.

It claimed its budget for organisational elements of the Games had been agreed at $66.9 million (£55.1 million/€63.1 million) in agreement with a Steering Committee for the event on which Kazadi was vice-president and the International Organisation of La Francophonie, and this was separate to the budget for infrastructure.

The CNJF alleged the full amount of its budget was not released by the Ministry of Finance and "certain debts are still overdue".

"The confusion created by the words of the Minister of Finance is due to the fact that he put in the same basket the funds allocated to the management of the CNJF for the organisation of the Games and those allocated to the Ministry of ITP [infrastructure and public works] for the construction of infrastructure," it said.

"This last part of the budget does not fall under the management of the CNJF but rather the Ministry of ITP and that of finance which were responsible for the construction, rehabilitation and development of infrastructure.

"These two Ministries can therefore better than the management of the CNJF explain the allocation of the 324 million dollars that Minister Kazadi would have paid for the Games.

"The management of the CNJF continues, for its part, to await the provision by the Minister of Finance of funds to enable it to liquidate the arrears of its staff and the debts of various service providers who contributed to the success of the IX Games Francophonie."

Around 3,000 athletes from 37 countries competed in the Francophone Games from July 28 to August 6.

The DR Congo had to make a late rush to ensure it was in a position to stage the event even after the delays, and criticism is mounting over the cost.

It is an episode likely to add to the debates surrounding the merits and pitfalls of staging multi-sport events, with several organisers struggling to find host for future editions.