‘Paris bid for 2024 Olympics has no worries’

Paris, Oct 2 (IANS) Paris’s bid for the 2024 Olympics won’t be affected by the possible withdrawal of Rome from the hosting race, the French city’s co-chairman for the bid Tony Estanguet has said.

Just 10 days ago, Rome mayor Virginia Raggi announced her opposition to the Italian city’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, citing financial and corruption risk concerns, reports Xinhua.

The investments and costs needed to successfully host such a big event would be too high for the debt-ridden city, Raggi reasoned.

Estanguet, however, declined to take financial problem as a major concern.

“We don’t have any budget problem. It could not be possible,” said the 38-year-old triple Olympic gold medallist on Saturday.

“One of the fact about Paris 2024 is that we already have 95 percent of existing venues and we only miss an aquatic centre. So we don’t speak about a big budget.”

“We planned to have 3 billion euros ($3.37 million) with margin in case, as anything can happen.”

“This will be the fourth bid by Paris, and since the beginning we never give up. We continued to invest on sport, to build venues, and that’s why we have now already the Velodrome, the canoeing venue, the new rugby arena,” he said.

Paris has hosted the Summer Olympics twice, in 1900 and 1924. Estanguet added that 40 major championships of Olympic sports have been organised during the two years in the city.

“We are partners with international federations and with the Olympic movement. It’s not just one shot. We’ll continue,” he said.

“We believe in the power of sports, and that’s why we want to keep our promises.”

Estanguet and his co-bid leader Bernard Lapasset were accompanying International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on a two-day visit to Paris.

The 62-year-old German was given a tour of France’s National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (INSEP) on Saturday.

Bach has already visited another two candidate cities for the 2024 Games — Los Angeles and Budapest — ahead of Paris and will meet Italian officials next week though the Rome bid had been vetoed by the city council.

Talking about the impact of Rome’s possible withdrawal, Estanguet said: “So far I don’t think there’s a major effect. We’ll wait for the final decision with Rome. But we haven’t taken into consideration this information because it’s not done. And also because we have so many to deal with our project. We’re focussed on our side.”

On the other hand, the Paris bid is fully backed by the mayor and the city hall, according to Estanguet.

Estanguet is also confident that the outcome of next year’s French presidential election will not impact on Paris bid, which enjoys significant political support.

“That’s part of the strategy at the beginning of the process that we want to bid at one condition that the sport movement was the leadership, and would be with the majority of all the governmental levels,” he said.

“And we’re now sure that whatever the result of any political elections, it won’t affect the bid. And again it’s good also to see that at the city level and the national level, all the parties supported the bid. We are very sure that at the moment there’s no problem with the presidential election,” emphasised Estanguet.

IOC is due to vote on the host city for 2024 on September 13, next year.



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