May 30 - Spain is coming out of its financial crisis so fast that by the time of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics it will be among the top two European economies and staging the Games in Madrid would present no risk, it was claimed by a top Government official here today.
The prediction by the country's Secretary of State for Trade Jaime García-Legaz that Spain boasted the "second largest economy in Europe" behind only Germany, surprised many in the audience at the SportAccord International Convention here.
"The economy of Spain is fully able to support the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games," García-Legaz told them.
"We have an Organising Committee budget of $1.9 billion (£1.3 billion/€1.5 billion) guaranteed by three levels of Government.
"It means that only $90 million (£59 million/€69 million) per year is needed from each level of Government, which is a small fraction.
"It is one of the smallest Organising Committee budgets to date due to the fact that Madrid already has the vast majority of facilities in place for the Games.
"So we have no problem financially in terms of delivering the Games."
Garcia-Legaz's robust defence of the Spanish economy was designed to change the perception that the country's problems made it an unsuitable candidate to host the Olympics.
"Spain is now entering a period of growth," he said.
"There is no crisis and we pose absolutely no risk in terms of hosting the 2020 Games.
"All of the analysts agree Spain will start growing in 2014 and won't stop growing until 2018, the last year for which we have projections."
The presentation made clear that huge funds would not be required given that nearly 80 per cent of infrastructure for the Games has already been completed.
It outlined that just four permanent venues and three temporary venues are required to stage the event.
This is because, the bid team said, Madrid had kept its promise to build a city able to host the Olympics and Paralympics following their two previous failed bids for the 2012 and 2016 Games - where they lost out to London and Rio de Janeiro respectively.
"Our two previous bids have given us the opportunity to have this historic third bid that shows we are responsible and can host a financially sustainable Games," said Madrid 2020 President Alejandro Blanco, who is also head of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE).
"This is not a bid promises because we have already kept them; this is not a bid of dreams because we have already kept them.
"Madrid can deliver and that is what we have done for the past 15 years, building for the 2020 Games."
Blanco also dismissed concerns over Spain's financial situation.
"There is too much talk about the economy," he said.
"Spain is one of the most organised countries in the world on a sport's level,
"Madrid feels and lives sport and our Games will be by the people, for the people."
Marisol Casado, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) President and one of Spain's three International Olympic Committee (IOC) members, opened the presentation.
She highlighted the fact that Madrid has proved to the Olympic Movement that it is trustworthy.
"We have been keeping our promises to the Olympic Movement because we have been building," she said.
"We have adapted our city to fit the Games - which is something that is new, powerful and unique.
"What it means is that Madrid can focus of the one big thing that matters most of all – the sport."
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