Madrid welcomes 2016 Olympics bid inspectors

5th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Madrid's city government has promised it will pump EUR 870 million for the construction of the Olympic Village if the Spanish capital is awarded the 2016 Olympic Games.

MADRID – Madrid on Monday welcomed an International Olympic Committee delegation to inspect its bid for the 2016 Games, with officials determined to show they have the financing and most of the infrastructure already in place.

"The financing is totally guaranteed and regarding security, Spain is used to organising international sports events," Madrid bid chief Mercedes Coghen told AFP, adding that "more than 70 percent of the infrastructure is ready".

"Madrid's bid is very complete. It is the ideal city, not too big, to host the Games in a friendly atmosphere," the former Olympic field hockey champion added.

This is the Spanish capital's second consecutive bid after it also bid for the 2012 Games, which were awarded to London. Spain last hosted the Games in Barcelona in 1992.

Madrid has made some changes to its last bid for the Games, Coghen said.

"There have been technical changes and we have grouped the Games in two zones, instead of three before, which will be better for the athletes and the spectators," she said.

"We have increased the hotel capacity and also resolved potential problems over noise," she added.

The fact that another European city is hosting the 2012 Games is seen as a handicap for Madrid's bid since the IOC prefers to alternate continents where the Olympics are held, but Coghen said this would not be a problem.

"We prefer to talk about a 'cultural rotation'. After Asia in Beijing and an anglo-saxon atmosphere in London, we have our Mediterranean bid - warm and one which encapsulates the Spanish and Latin world," she said.

The 13-member IOC team, led by Morocco's Olympic 400metres hurdles champion Nawal el Moutawakel, arrived in Madrid after already visiting the three other candidate cities: Chicago, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro.

The delegation will be shown around existing and planned sites for Olympic venues during their five-day stay on hybrid buses which are in line with Madrid's promise to hold a green Games.

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

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, who are leading Madrid's delegation at the vote in Denmark, will host a lunch for the delegation Friday on the last day of the visit.

Madrid's city government on Friday 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.

Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon had already declared last month: "Madrid 2016 is not a virtual bid, but a reliable and already financed one."

Amid a global financial crisis, the IOC has made it clear that the financial details of bids will be decisive.

"The commission will pay close attention to the financial guarantees that are presented," IOC President Jacques Rogge said before the delegation set out to inspect the four candidate cities.

To give Madrid's bid added weight, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero took personal charge of the sports portfolio when he reshuffled his cabinet in April.

"I can see that it is the most useful and most efficient way to support Spanish sport, where we have had success, and above all for the Spanish candidature for the Olympic Games," he said at the time.

AFP / Expatica

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