December 20 - Oslo's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games has received an early boost after a review by external experts failed to find "any major weaknesses" in the initial plans.
With any Norwiegan public project totalling more than 750 million kroner ($122 million/£75 million/€89 million) subject to external reviews, the study was undertaken by consultancy agency DNV GL, along with contributions from AF Advansia and the Centre for Applied Research at Bergen University.
It was reported "the application described a relatively restrained concept and findings were in line with the application material," although several areas for review were highlighted.
The report has now been passed onto the Government with a "state financial guarantee" having to be approved by Parliament no later than January 2015.
The review estimated this state guarantee for the 2022 Games would total 35.1 billion kroner ($5.6 billion/£3.4 billion/€4 billion) although with deductions from income from sponsors and other sources the cost was estimated at 21.7 billion kroner ($3.5 billion/£2.1 billion/€2.6 billion).
Although a far lower number than other recent Olympics, includng Sochi 2014, this is still a considerable sum for a bid billed as a compact, safe option and dubbed the "Games in the City".
As Oslo 2022 director of communications Ingunn Olsen told insidethegames earlier this month, persuading the population as a whole of the benefits of hosting the Games will be the major challenge if the bid is to be successful.
Drawing on the popularity of Winter disciplines and on the success of the Oslo 1952 and Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics would seem the best way by which to do this.
Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey is responsible for overseeing the Government deliberations and has promised to thoroughly study the independent report, calling it "a very important foundation for our evaluation of whether we will offer a state guarantee."
Oslo is the early favourite in the six strong race for 2022 which also consists of bids from Beijing, Krakow, Lviv, Almaty and Stockholm.
After beginning their bidding process at an IOC orientation seminar in Lausanne earlier this month, the six are now answering a detailed questionnaire to be submitted next March shortly after they attend Sochi 2014 as official observers.
The IOC will then consider each application in the Spring before shortlisting the candidate cities at an Executive Board Meeting in July.
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