Madrid can only bid again for Olympics if big changes made to process, claims Blanco

Saturday, 03 May 2014
By Nick Butler

Madrid will not unveil another Olympic bid until changes are made to the bidding process ©Getty ImagesMadrid will await the outcome of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reform process before deciding whether to launch another bid for the Olympics and Paralympics, Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) President Alejandro Blanco has claimed.

Madrid has bid unsuccessfully four times for the Olympics, including the last three Games allocated which were awarded to London for 2012, Rio de Janeiro for 2016 and Tokyo for 2020.

Blanco personally believes the Spanish capital, which also bid for the 1972 Olympics awarded to Munich, should not enter the race for the 2024 Games and should instead wait for later events.

Speaking during a visit to Mexico, Blanco, COE President since 2005, claimed a future Madrid bid would depend on the IOC adapting the rules to make it more attractive for nations with limited economic resources.

"We have already built 80 per cent of the infrastructure, we have invested heavily," he said.

"Now some are considering a bid for 2024.

"Other countries also have a reflection on the subject and expect the new guidelines of the Olympic Movement to determine what will be the future of the Games and the standard of future organisations.

"From there, there will be a decision, but in my humble opinion Spain and Madrid must say no in 2024.

"If the IOC continues to favour the current economic model, Madrid may not be in the race, but if changes are made which allow Madrid back in, we persist because we think Spain deserves to host the Olympic Games."

He added that "if Spain does not appear for 2024 it could, provided there is an Olympic reform, be a candidate in 2028".

Alejandro Blanco alongside Prince Felipe of Spain during Madrid's presentation to the IOC during the 2020 race ©Getty ImagesAlejandro Blanco alongside Prince Felipe of Spain during Madrid's presentation to the IOC during the 2020 race ©Getty Images



Madrid finished third in the race for the 2012 Games, behind Paris and winners London, before finishing second in the 2016 contest after losing the final round of voting to Rio de Janeiro by 66 votes to 32.

Despite seemingly building up strong momentum in the latter stages, Madrid then finished third in the 2020 race behind Istanbul and winners Tokyo after being eliminated in the first round of voting.

Although the city had at one point vowed to carry on bidding until they were awarded the Games, with economic problems continuing, there has been much reluctance to commit to another bid in 2024.

Madrid Mayor Ana Botella claimed soon after the city's defeat in the 2020 race last September, the city would not bid again for the "next few years".

But while his comments suggest he feels similarly, Blanco also reiterated his view of the benefits of bidding for a Games, and he claimed the IOC will be receptive to economic realities and that "sport is a major factor for integration within a country".

This comes at a time where there is great concern in the Olympic Movement that a number of cities, particularly in Europe, will be unable to launch bids in the future due to economic problems leading to opposition from politicians and the public.

Stockholm withdrew from the race for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in January because of lack of financial guarantees from the Swedish Government, Oslo and Kraków are currently facing problems due to concerted opposition.

Reforms to the bidding process are one of a number of areas being considered as part of Agenda 2020, with decisions due to be made later this year at an Extraordinary IOC Session in Monte Carlo on December 6 and 7.

Stockholm pulled out of the 2022 race after being unable to attract Government backing ©AFP/Getty ImagesStockholm pulled out of the 2022 race after being unable to attract Government backing ©AFP/Getty Images



The race for the 2024 Games has also already been marked by a number of contenders withdrawing due to economic and logistical concerns, including Mexico City, St Petersburg, Kazan and Toronto.

Among those still considering bids are Rome, Berlin, Paris and up to six cities across the United States.

But all are still subject to official confirmation and are yet to be endorsed by the respective Governments in each country.

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