German bid for 2022 Winter Olympics moves closer following Swiss exit
Monday, 04 March 2013
March 4 - The German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) has admitted there is now a strong possibility that Munich could bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics after Switzerland rejected the chance to move for the Games.
Switzerland was shaping up as one of the strongest early contenders for the 2022 Winter Games with a proposed bid from St Moritz and Davos but it has already been scrapped after voters in Graubünden canton voted 52.66 per cent to 47.34 per cent to decide against approving funding of 300 million Swiss francs (£212 million/$318 million/€245 million).
The Swiss referendum vote, along with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) decision to concentrate on bidding for the 2024 Summer Games or 2026 Winter Games, now throws the race for 2022 wide open, it seems.
DOSB general director Michael Vesper admits the organisation has noted Switzerland's withdrawal but while saying that the development could help a Munich bid, he said it also shows that there must be full support behind a 2022 bid for it to be successful.
"The competition for the Winter Games 2022 has eased considerably [with the Swiss exit]," Vesper said.
"This will be positively considered by the DOSB when taking a decision.
"This decision shows how important the involvement of citizens is.
"But this decision shows the importance of citizen participation, which is why the DOSB has made [citizen participation] a precondition for any new application.
"After the elections in Bavaria [currently scheduled to take place in either September or October this year], there will be a local referendum on November 10 2013 [to decide on a bid].
"Until then, all questions of interest to the citizens will be clarified."
Munich bid to host the 2018 Winter Games but were hampered by local opposition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where the skiing events would be held.
The Green Party also officially opposed Munich's 2018 bid over environmental concerns, dealing it a major political blow.
Munich eventually lost out to Pyeongchang in South Korea as it looked to become the first city ever to stage the Summer and Winter Olympics, having hosted the Summer Games in 1972.
Any German bid would undoubtedly be strong in 2022, particularly with DOSB President Thomas Bach involved.
Bach, the IOC vice-president, is the man considered the favourite to become the next IOC President when Jacques Rogge steps down in September and is one of the most influential individuals in the organisation.
Other cities who have investigated bidding include Barcelona, Lviv in the Ukraine and Zakopane in Poland, while Norwegian capital Oslo may also be a candidate.
The deadline for cities wanting to bid is November 14 this year with the IOC due to choose the host city as its session in Kuala Lumpur in July 2015.
March 2013: Swiss voters rejects bid for 2022 Winter Olympics