The French sports establishment is set to press on with efforts to piece together a blueprint for a winning Paris Olympic bid, in spite of comments this week by Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, that have been widely interpreted as sounding a death-knell for the French capital's prospects of entering the 2024 race.
Among a series of announcements relating to the so-called "Grand Paris" project, Valls signalled Government backing for a French bid to host Expo 2025.
"I see in the candidacy for the 2025 Universal Exhibition a magnificent opportunity for the image of 'Grand Paris' and of France in the world," he said.
His words were immediately seized on by sports commentators as tantamount to a declaration that France would not be entering the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic race, on the grounds that laying preparations for two massive projects in such quick succession was not really feasible.
While such a reading may yet turn out to be justified, however, insidethegames understands that the wide-ranging Olympic and Paralympic feasibility study, launched earlier this year, is set to continue undaunted.
Under this process, a report is likely to be produced early next year, with a formal decision on a Paris 2024 bid taken before the country sets off for les grandes vacances.
Though all options clearly remain open, and though the International Olympic Committee - stung by what has happened in the 2022 race - will no doubt be keen for the 2024 contest to feature a viable European candidate, it has looked for a while as if the City of Light was edging towards a decision to keep its powder dry until 2028.
For one thing, a strong United States candidate for 2024 looks increasingly likely, and while few suggest such a bidder would be unbeatable, the French establishment would find it particularly difficult to countenance another losing campaign after recent high-profile disappointments, notably in 2005 when it lost out to London 2012.
It is also a potentially unhelpful fact that the next French Presidential election is due in April and May 2017, just as the 2024 race will be entering its critical final stages.
It could also be argued that, even if near simultaneous Expo and Olympic projects were deemed possible and complementary, Expo 2025 would probably dovetail better with Paris 2028.
Admittedly, when Paris first hosted the Olympics, the Games were part of the 1900 world's fair; the world, though, has moved on in the intervening 114 years.
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