Glasgow and Medellín pull ahead of Buenos Aires in race for 2018 Youth Olympics as IOC Evaluation Commission report published
Tuesday, 04 June 2013
June 4 - Glasgow and Medellín have both received overwhelmingly positive reports from the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Evaluation Commission that has analysed the bids for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games but there appear to remain concerns over Buenos Aires.
The Commission, chaired by Germany's IOC Executive Board member Claudia Bokel and which also included Namibia's Frankie Fredericks and the IOC's Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli, released its report to coincide with one month to go until the vote is due to take place on July 4 in Lausanne.
While both Glasgow and Medellín were both rated as having "minimal risk to the IOC", if they were are selected, there were some doubts raised over the Argentinian capital.
These included "the funding and related guarantees underpinning the bid" and the dates proposed for the Games.
The IOC claimed that they could not accept any minimum payment clause to the National Olympic Committee, as included in Buenos Aires' marketing agreement - a minimum payment guarantee of $900,000 (£588,000/€688,000).
There were also doubts expressed about Buenos Aires' proposed dates of September 11 to 23, which is the start of their spring when the temperature is only 12 degrees on average, although organisers promised to try to make sure that each sport competed in the best conditions.
Medellín's bid is seen as being part of its strategy to reinvent itself having previously had a reputation as being one of the world's most violent cities due to it being the home of the "Medellín Cartel" funded by drugs baron Pablo Escobar.
The murder rate has fallen dramatically in the last 20 years but the Evaluation commission noted that "crime is still a problem", although it did praise the efforts to continue to stamp it out.
"The city has made admirable progress to regenerate its urban area and recent actions by the city authorities and the introduction of innovative ideas on street safety have significantly improved the standards of safety in the city itself and tourism is reported to be increasing," the report said.
"The President of the Republic of Colombia, as the ultimate authority for all security matters, has guaranteed that all necessary measures would be taken to ensure the security and peaceful celebration of the YOG."
For Glasgow concerns were raised over its proposed sponsorship target of $41 million (£27 million/€31 million), 13 per cent of the total budget - which the Evaluation Commission called "optimistic" - and, even though the Scottish Government and the City Council have promised to meet any shortfall in the budget, "the split of responsibilities has not been clearly identified", according to the IOC.
Officials from all three cities - as they always do after the publication of the IOC Evaluation Commission report - highlighted the positives, while failing to address the negatives.
"We are grateful to the IOC for the positive feedback about our bespoke Games Plan, including the venues in the beautiful city area of the Green Corridor," said Francisco Irarrazaval, Buenos Aires Under-Secretary of Sport and chief executive of Buenos Aires 2018.
"It is our mission to deliver a Games concept that ensures convenience for the Olympic Family and will fit perfectly with the needs of the young athletes, allowing them to perform at their full potential - safely and securely.
"The IOC Evaluation Commission report will be a valuable source of information as we work hard to make our proposal even stronger.
"We are confident that Buenos Aires would deliver an unforgettable YOG that inspires the Olympians of the future to take part in sport today."
Medellín, who were praised in the Evaluation report for its "compact concept and use of existing venues", is increasingly emerging as many people's favourites.
"We are excited once again with today's announcement from the IOC," said Andres Botero Phillipsbourne, IOC Member and Colombia's Sports Minister.
"We continue to be recognised for our commitment to sport and to bringing this important event to Colombia.
"We are inspired that the IOC supports our approach to the Youth Olympic Games in Medellín, which we feel will be a truly unique experience."
But Glasgow will be formidable opposition in Lausanne as their bid team is expected to include Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012 and the British Olympic Association, and Sir Craig Reedie, the IOC's vice-president.
"The IOC's experts have acknowledged our great facilities, long experience of hosting major events and the fact we have virtually no venues to build in order to put on a great YOG in line with the IOC's original philosophy for the Games," said Shona Robison, Scotland's Minister for Sport and the Commonwealth Games.
"That means we are ideally placed to focus additional time and effort on athletes' needs, should we have the honour of hosting the Games.
"All our efforts are now focused on securing the Games so that we can provide visitors and athletes with the friendly welcome for which Scotland is renowned and provide an experience that will both surprise and delight."
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April 2013: 2018 Youth Olympic Games bid cities present to IOC Evaluation Commission
February 2013: Glasgow through to last three of 2018 Summer Youth Olympics contest