POSTED: September 2nd 2009

Madrid comes off worst from 2016 Olympic evaluation report

Mercedes Coghen: Madrid bid leader / lake images
Mercedes Coghen: Madrid bid leader / lake images

LAURA WALDEN & KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LAUSANNE: None of the four cities bidding to host the 2016 Olympic Games came up with a totally clean bill of health from the extensive and perceptive report of the IOC’s evaluation commission.

Chicago, Madrid – which suffered by far the sharpest rebuke - Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo are the four cities whose fate will be decided by the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen on October 2.

To what extent the report will influence the IOC members is a separate issue. However, while the report – unanimously signed – praised the high standard of all the candidacies it did not pull punches either.

Chicago had been unable to provide a full financing guarantee for its ambitious athletes’ village and the report expressed concern over a financial strategy “presenting a risk for the IOC” in case of a shortfall of sponsorship and operational revenues. The IOC had also rejected Chicago’s plea for its own specific amendment to the standard host city contract.

Tokyo's assessment noted the compact setting for event venues and the proposed state financial guarantees. However it was less than happy with the polled level of public support, a lack of clarity over venue construction and/or reconstruction, the restricted land available for the athletes’ village and the failure to extend Games accommodation prices either side of opening and closing ceremonies.

One intriguing feature of the Rio de Janeiro bid is that it would be hosting the Games two years after Brazil hosts football’s World Cup. This was considered as both an advantage in the acceleration of “infrastructure delivery and organizational experience” but as a “challenge with respect to 2016 Games marketing and communications strategies.”

Transport concern

The financial and development boxes were ticked off as well as measures to try to improve the city’s public safety record. But a concern was raised over the problems of inter-venue transport, given the four-zone nature of the project.

Madrid was the city to emerge with most issues of concern from the report’s summary.

The report acknowledged the Spanish capital’s sporting tradition and strategy to attract major sports events as well as the “highly compact Games concept.”

However it added: “The Candidature File and supporting documentation, as well as the administrative structure proposed for a Madrid 2016 Games, did not demonstrate a full understanding of the need for clear delineation of roles and responsibilities, including financial, between different stakeholders to ensure an efficient and timely transition to the OCOG, or of the management of operations required to implement the Games vision, concept and plans.

"Given the current complexity and magnitude of delivering a major multi-sports event such as the Olympic Games, this could result in organizational and financial challenges.”

If that were not bad enough, a sharp additional note raised a query over whether Spanish anti-doping legislation complied with the WADA code.

Keywords · 2016 Olympic Games · IOC · Chicago · Madrid · Rio de Janeiro · Tokyo

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