POSTED: November 30th 2016

Olympics: Budapest 2024 bid gathers steam after referendum gets 'no show'

The Budapest 2024 bid team gave a presentation at Debrecen University today in Hungary © Balázs Fürjes Twitter
The Budapest 2024 bid team gave a presentation at Debrecen University today in Hungary © Balázs Fürjes Twitter

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The Budapest 2024 Olympic bid got a boost as the proposed referendum against the bid never gained a foothold due to insufficient interest.

The Budapest Municipality has officially announced that the call for a referendum about the Olympic bid was approved but has unraveled as the organizers did not pick up the signature forms. The referendum was proposed in October under the question "Do you agree that the Budapest Municipality should withdraw its application to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024?" however it never came together. And even no signatures were submitted within the 30 day time period so the call to question the bid fell apart.

Budapest is bidding against Paris and Los Angeles to host the summer Games and it would mean a first for Hungary to welcome the Games.

László Vajda, Vice-Chairman of Budapest 2024, commented, "It's a good day for the bid. The question of the referendum was raised, it was accepted and it ran its natural course. 

"Every democratic opportunity has been given to a very small minority who wished to validate their opinion, despite overwhelming support from a clear majority supporting the Olympic Bid at the last independent polls.

"It's quite obvious now that this referendum has turned out to be a damp squib."

"It is of course the democratic right of every citizen of Budapest to seek a referendum on a matter of public policy in the city and we entirely respect that right," added Balázs Fürjes, Chairman of Budapest 2024. "We strongly encourage public debate and are delighted by the support and encouragement that we continue to receive.

"This is a bid that enjoys strong and widespread support among ordinary Hungarians nationwide. Two-thirds of Hungarians would describe themselves as 'proud' or 'very proud' to see Budapest host the Games. There are clear indicators that this sentiment runs across the full cross-section of society, including urban and rural communities.

"Ours is a sports-mad country.  We were a founding member of the IOC and we have participated in the Games since 1896. Hungary is the only country ranked in the top ten of the all-time Olympic Medal table that has not yet hosted the Olympic Games. With fewer than 300 days to go until the IOC votes on the host city for 2024, we will continue to engage the support of our fellow Hungarians, sharing why we believe that we are the right city at the right time for the Games - for Hungarians and the Olympic Family."

The IOC will vote on their decision for a host city in September 2017 at the official session 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 · Budapest 2024

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