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Boost for SA 2024 Games bid

2014-12-09 14:09
Olympics (File)

Monaco - An African bid to stage the Olympic Games for the first time will get widespread sympathy in the IOC after its new reforms, Olympic chief Thomas Bach said on Tuesday.

With Durban in South Africa considering a run for the 2024 Games, Bach told AFP in an interview that it was up to Africa to make a "feasible" case.

"This depends on Africa," Bach said when asked when the first Olympics would be held in Africa.

Reforms passed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) such as making bidding easier and cheaper and allowing possible joint bids are intended to take the Games to "new regions", according to Bach,

"We will see now," Bach said.

"The next candidature phase is for the 2024 Olympic Games and we will see whether there will be a bid from Africa.

"I can only say that I think a feasible bid from Africa would enjoy many sympathies from among the IOC members but the first step has to be done by Africa," the IOC president said.

The IOC decided on Friday that the host for the 2024 Games will be decided at a meeting in the Peru capital Lima in mid-2017.

Durban is already bidding for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in what could be a launch pad for the Olympics.

Media reports have also spoken of a possible bid by Johannesburg, which could team up with Pretoria now that the new reforms allow the Games to be staged in two cities.

South Africa's veteran IOC member Sam Ramsamy said last month that "Africa is ready to host an Olympics," as he indicated that a South African bid is likely.

Any African bid for 2024 is likely to face strong European and US competition.

The US Olympic Committee is expected to choose this month between Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC and Boston. The United States last held the summer Games in Atlanta in 1996.

In Europe, Berlin and Hamburg in Germany have been given strong government support for a campaign. The Italian capital Rome is also studying a bid and Paris will announce in January whether it will join the race.

French President Francois Hollande favours a bid but the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has doubts.

France was badly disappointed at losing the 2012 Games to London and 2024 will be the 100th anniversary of the last time France staged the summer Games.

IOC members have predicted that Paris will join the race and Bach said that the French capital would be a strong contender.

"Yes Paris can believe in its chances because France is an Olympic country," the IOC president said.

"Our founder, Pierre de Coubertin, was French. France likes sport, Paris is a fascinating city known the world over and has existing infrastructure.

"So if Paris decides, if France decides to present a Paris candidacy, it would be a very strong candidate," Bach declared.

Cities must make applications by September 15 next year and then have until January 8, 2016 to place guarantees.

A final list of candidate cities will be chosen by the IOC in May 2016 leaving about 14 months campaigning before a final vote in Lima.

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