Spanish PM takes charge of Olympic bid

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Zapatero will take charge of the sports portfolio to support Spanish sport and aid Madrid’s candidature for the 2016 Olympics.

MADRID – Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced Tuesday he will take personal charge of the sports portfolio in a bid to help Madrid's candidature for the 2016 Olympics.

"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 told a news conference called to announce a cabinet reshuffle.

Sport is currently overseen in the government by a secretary of state for sport, Jaime Lissavetzky, who is under the minister of education and sport.

Zapatero indicated Lissavetzky would continue in his job but that it would be "more useful if the secretary of state worked directly under the presidency of the government," he said.

The prime minister said last November that Spain would soon have a cabinet-level sports minister. However, no such move was announced Tuesday.

Madrid is one of the four cities, along with Chicago, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, shortlisted as candidates for the 2016 Summer Games.

An evaluation team from the International Olympic Committee, which will choose the host city in Copenhagen on 2 October, is visiting all four cities this month.

The year 2008 was spectacular for Spanish sports, with the country winning the Euro 2008 football tournament and the Davis Cup tennis tournament, Rafael Nadal winning Wimbledon, and Spaniard Carlos Sastre taking the Tour de France cycling race.

AFP / Expatica

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