Financial crisis is no barrier to Madrid 2016 bid

8th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Spain’s International Olympic Committee stresses 77 percent of the needed infrastructure has already been completed.

MADRID – Madrid can host the 2016 Olympics "with or without" the global financial crisis because the bulk of the needed infrastructure is already in place, Spain's International Olympic Committee representative said Thursday.

"Our candidacy is secure and full of vitality," said Juan Antonio Samaranch, the son of the former president of the IOC of the same name.

"The Games could be held here with or without a crisis for a very concrete argument: in this country the majority of the investment has already been carried out. This message the whole world can understand," he added.

Samaranch was speaking to reporters after meeting with the IOC delegation which is inspecting Madrid's bid for the 2016 Games until Friday.

This is Madrid's second consecutive bid after 2012 Games which were awarded to London, and the city has been driving home the fact that it has 77 percent of the needed infrastructure already completed.

Samaranch said Madrid's bid had a budget of USD 2.7 billion (EUR 2.0 billion) for organising the event and another USD 3.4 billion for infrastructure.

"It is not just a budget of numbers, you have to convert them into action and how to do so is also spelled out," he said.

Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, who appeared before the IOC delegation with Samaranch, called the budget "conservative, realistic and safe".

Last week Madrid's city government announced it had agreed to guarantee the full price tag of EUR 870 million for the construction of the Olympic Village if the Spanish capital is awarded the 2016 Games.

"Spaniards have worked hard and saved for this event and the Games would be a great opportunity to create new jobs," said Madrid bid chief and former Olympic field hockey champion Mercedes Coghen.

Samaranch said members of the IOC delegation expressed concern over the possible impact which the fluctuation in the value of the dollar and the euro may have on the finances of the event.

"About 70 percent of our revenues are in dollars and the percentage of our expenses in euros is even higher. How to face up with currency fluctuations is an easy question to answer: you can't," he said.

"It is a natural risk that exists, but which through mechanisms known as exchange rate insurance you can minimise," he added.

The vast majority of residents of Madrid, 85 percent, support the bid according to the recently undertaken IOC polls, Madrid bid organisers said.

That compares to 75 percent support in Chicago for the city's bid and 56 percent support in Tokyo for its bid.

Figures for the fourth city in the race to hold the 2016 Games, Rio de Janeiro, were not known, they said.

The 13-member IOC inspection team arrived in the Spanish capital on Monday after already visiting the three other candidate cities.

It will then produce a technical report that will provide the basis for the IOC when they choose the host city in Copenhagen on 2 October.

AFP / Expatica

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