POSTED: April 5th 2011

Salzburg could have been a more logical choice than Sochi, claims Helios boss

Salzburg: unlucky failure / lake images
Salzburg: unlucky failure / lake images

CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE at SportAccord / Sports Features Communications

LONDON, Apr 05: One of the men who masterminded Sochi’s successful bid to host the 2014 Olympics believes that, if the IOC had wanted to stage the perfect Winter Games in 2014, it would have awarded the prize to Salzburg.

Terrence Burns, the head of Helios Partners who was speaking at SportAccord in London, said:“Sochi had nothing to offer the Olympics but a legacy.” He noted that bid rival Salzburg had the perfect conditions and existing infrastructure to host a successful tournament - “The legacy story won and Salzburg didn’t. It’s a stick we can use that other major cities across the world can’t use.”

Burns argued that the Olympics should not always go to the best prepared city at the time but one that can open up different markets and introduce a new community to winter events.

“The Olympics is everywhere, it is not just where rich white people live,” said Burns who also spoke of the success in terms of infrastructure that comes from awarding the Olympics to a new city. He said: “You have to build 20 years of infrastructure in seven years – the Olympics is a powerful motivator.”


Assessing the 2014 Winter Olympics, Burns asserted his belief that politicians should remain an important part of the bidding and hosting process saying: “The government should write laws to embody what has already been promised. The political pieces are really, really important.”

However Burns did criticise the IOC for not publishing set criteria for the host cities to include before the signing of the host contract, including all costs and deadlines. He said “The scale and cost of the games grows exponentially year on year. When you sign the host city contract, you effectively sign a blank cheque.”

Burns also included FIFA in his criticisms as he targeted the way the world football federation and the IOC draw out the bidding process without complete transparency saying: “They get these countries to a point where they will sign anything, and I think that is wrong.”

But Inaki Alvarez, a FIFA official, hit back saying that FIFA had a clear and simple structure in the bidding process; “Our attitude at FIFA is: ‘Why are you bidding?’ After that we provide incentives.” 

Keywords · Burns · IOC · FIFA · Helios

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