POSTED: November 30th 2015

Olympics: IOC President Bach weighs in on Hamburg 2024 exit as a 'missed opportunity'

The IOC headquarters in Lausanne / SFC
The IOC headquarters in Lausanne / SFC

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) With Hamburg pulling out of the 2024 Olympic bid race, IOC President Thomas Bach's reaction was that it was a 'missed opportunity' for the city and for Germany. Bach is an Olympic fencing champion from Germany and also blames the exit on Hamburg's financial plan and latest unfortunate incidents in the sports world and beyond.

German news source DPA also reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed "regret" that 51.6 per cent of the voters were against the Olympic bid.

Last year at the Monaco IOC session reforms were made to make Olympic bidding more attractive and cost effective through Agenda 2020 and five cities stepped to the plate. In spite of this, Germany still chose to bow out of the competition to host the Games. Agenda 2020 didn't convince Hamburg citizens.

Bach said in a statement:

'The IOC of course respects the close vote by the citizens of Hamburg. We regret the decision which should be seen in the light of the very particular and difficult circumstances the referendum was held in. This is a missed opportunity for Hamburg and Germany.

Obviously the narrow vote was greatly influenced by the discussion about the financing of the project presented by the candidate city. The budget for organizing the Olympic Games with 3.4 Billion Euro was very well-balanced, with the IOC contributing 1.7 Billion US Dollar to this budget and to the success of the Games, compared to the 1.2 Billion Euros the city wanted to invest in the infrastructure budget of 7.8 Billion Euro. 

We are aware that the decision came at a time, in which Germany has to manage a historic challenge with an extremely high number of refugees coming into the country. This requires a great effort by German government and society and is causing widespread feelings of uncertainty.

The decision also may have been influenced by regrettable incidents with regard to doping and corruption in other sports organizations. This is a pity, since the IOC itself ensures transparency and good governance and applies strict anti-corruption rules with its Olympic Agenda 2020 reform programme in line with highest international standards.   

The IOC is proud to have four strong candidate cities. Budapest, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome are looking with anticipation to the future of their cities and to use the Olympic project as a catalyst for positive, sustainable and feasible development. They all are already working together with the IOC to take full benefit of the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, which is focusing to have the Olympic Games being in line with the long-term needs of the citizens of future Olympic Cities'.

Hamburg was bidding against Budapest, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome and the IOC will vote for their final host city in 2017 in Lima, Peru.

**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-five years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.

Keywords · Olympics · IOC · Thomas Bach

For more information contact:
Laura Walden ()

All original materials contained in this section are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Sports Features Communications, Inc the owner of that content. It is prohibited to alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.