Hours after a Goa Minister announced that the much-delayed National Games would be held in the state in November, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that it will not be possible to organise them this year.

“After the dates for the Games are announced, we will need at least five months to purchase sports equipment that has to be imported from foreign countries. We have informed the Indian Olympic Association to allocate dates in May 2020. Hosting the Games in November this year would not be possible because it is only three months away,” he told the Assembly.

Sawant also said that it would take the Goan contingent “at least five months” to prepare for the event and that training for the same had not even begun.

Delay in completing the requisite infrastructure in Goa has been one of the reasons behind the delay in hosting the Games, the last edition of which was held in Jharkhand in 2011.

Earlier on Wednesday, in a written response to a question from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party member Sudin Dhavalikar, Sports Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar had said that the state had written to the IOA about its intent to host the 36th National Games in November.

“The state government has proposed to the Indian Olympic Association its intent to host the 36th National Games in November 2019 and preparations for hosting the event are going on in that direction,” Ajgaonkar said.

On the issue of the Rs 10 crore fine imposed by the IOA because of the delay in hosting the Games, he said: “The IOA has raised a demand for added hosting rights fee. However, the government has protested against the demand and presently it has not been acceded to.”