New Santiago 2023 boss Harold Mayne-Nicholls is confident of readiness for the Panam Games ©Santiago 2023

The new executive director of the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago has likened his appointment to that of a coach trying to "save a team that is on the verge of relegation".

Harold Mayne Nicholls was appointed by Chile’s Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro earlier this month after the resignation of previous Executive Director Gianna Cunazza.

Mayne-Nicholls had been a high ranking FIFA official before receiving a suspension for his part in the events surrounding the vote which gave the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Despite only taking over at Santiago 2023 a fortnight ago, Mayne-Nicholls has vowed that everything will be ready for the scheduled opening of the Games on October 20.

"We are going to do it without any inconvenience," Mayne Nicholls told Chilean newspaper El Pais,

"Of course, the ideal would be to have arrived much earlier, but what is the use of crying over spilled milk."

Mayne-Nicholls inherited a staff of some 900 but also budgetary problems for an event which is already set to cost over $650 million (£514million/€596 million).

In April, Chile's National Sports Institute blocked the release of further funds to the Organising Committee.

Mayne-Nicholls has ordered the Santiago 2023 administration and finance team to complete an audit by next Friday (July 7), a condition for the release of an additional $111 million(£88million/€102 million) in public funds.

Former FIFA official Harold Mayne-Nicholls has likened his Santiago 2023 job to that of a football coach brought in to save his side from relegation©Santiago 2023
Former FIFA official Harold Mayne-Nicholls has likened his Santiago 2023 job to that of a football coach brought in to save his side from relegation©Santiago 2023

"Since we set the date on July 7 to deliver everything, the following week we should have the new funds," Mayne-Nicholls said.

Chile's Chamber of Deputies has also announced an investigation into financial irregularities in the Organising Committee before Mayne-Nicholls took charge,

"It does not help me at all to open this investigative commission, but they have all the powers to do so and it is up to them, they will have to investigate what they want, but if they ask us to be permanently delivering information, we are going to have to find a way to do it, in order to continue working with the Games at the same time," Mayne-Nicholls added.

"I was brought in to carry out this project, not to investigate it, I am not going to gain anything today by finding irregularities if the Games are not ready on October 20."

Mayne Nicholls has already inspected each venue since taking up office and has admitted concerns about progress with the diving pool.

The installation of the diving pool has caused anxiety.

"It could be the biggest problem but they are working 24 hours a day, they are under pressure but are convinced that we will get there," Mayne Nicholls said.

"I went to the National Stadium, which is going to be a wonderful first-class centre for all sports.

Mayne Nicholls has not yet spoken to at length to his predecessor Cunazza but he hinted at concerns about morale in the organisation.

"I don't feel like all the parties are pulling to together,I could be wrong, but I think it has to do with the issue of leadership."

Tickets for the Games are set to go on sale in a fortnight’s time and Mayne-Nicholls hopes they will be affordable.

The maximum price is expected to be around $12.40(£9.80/€11.30).

"That's a matter for the board to resolve, but they're going to be popular anyway, so families can go to at least one event," Mayne-Nicholls said.