More than half of Norwegians against Government backing Oslo 2022 with financial guarantees, poll claims

Friday, 24 January 2014
By Duncan Mackay

Oslo residents vote in favour of 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic bid Getty ImagesJanuary 24 - There is nationwide opposition to Oslo's campaign to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, according to a new poll, with more than half the country believing the Norwegian Government should refuse to provide the financial guarantees required.

The findings of the poll, conducted by research firm Norstat for influential conservative magazine Minerva, will alarm the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at a time the race for 2022 is facing a worrying future.

The campaign had already been undermined last year when Munich and St Moritz had to shelve plans to bid following local referendums which opposed hosting the Olympics.

Last week Stockholm withdrew after politicians in the Swedish capital refused to support it.

There are also doubts over Lviv's bid following the civil unrest in Ukraine which has spread to the city and seen protesters force the Governor to resign and barricade local council buildings.

According to the poll for Minerva, who are publicly against the bid, a total of 58 per cent of Norwegians were against the Government supporting it with financial guarantees.

Only 26 per cent supported it.

Even in Oslo, only 37 per cent of those polled backed the idea of the Government providing the necessary financial guarantees, with 49 per cent against.

Opposition was highest in Northern Norway, best known as being land of the midnight sun and the northern lights, where 75 per cent were against against a state guarantee for Oslo 2022..

In western Norway, is the region along the Atlantic coast of southern Norway, which includes Bergen, 69 per cent opposed it.

Oslo 2022 officials face a big battle to persuade the Norwegian public to back plans to bring the Winter Olympics back to the capital for the first time since 1952 ©Paris Match Archive/Getty ImagesOslo 2022 officials face a big battle, it would seem, to persuade the Norwegian public to back plans to bring the Winter Olympics back to the capital for the first time since 1952
©Paris Match Archive/Getty Images


Earlier this month, Oslo 2022 chief executive Eli Grimsby admitted to insidethegames they would have to work hard to convince Norwegians about the value of hosting the Games and that the taxpayer would end up with a large bill at the end of it.

Those being questioned in the survey were told that the public portion of the total bill was estimated to amount to up to 24 billion kroner (£2.4 billion/$3.9 billion/€2.8 billion), which Oslo 2022 officials dispute.

An external review last month which estimated the cost of hosting the Olympics and Paralympics in Oslo for the first time since 1952 would cost 35.1 billion kroner (£3.4 billion/$5.6 billion/€4 billion), although with deductions from income from sponsors and other sources this would be reduced to 21.7 billion kroner (£2.1 billion/$3.5 billion/€2.6 billion).

Olso's bid was only able to proceed after local residents voted 55.1 per cent in a referendum last September to back the plans.

But, with seemingly growing opposition across the country, the Norwegian Government must decide now whether to offer the financial guarantees that the IOC will demand.

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