By Nick Butler

Zsolt Borkai spoke enthusiastically about the prospect of a Budapest bid for the 2024 Olympics ©Hungarian Olympic CommitteeAn Extraordinary Session of the Hungarian Olympic Committee (HOC) will take place in February to analyse the feasibility of a Budapest bid for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics following the outcome of the Agenda 2020 reform process.

Along with various measures seeking to reduce the cost of bidding for the Games and offer more support to candidates, the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Agenda 2020 process, finalised this week in Monte Carlo, also allows more events to be held outside the host city to maximise existing venues.

All of this was alluded to by HOC President Zsolt Borkai as he enthusiastically outlined the Hungarian capital's potential, adding that he had already called upon "important figures from economic and sports life to voluntarily contribute advice and suggestions".

Events could be held in other cities in the European nation, he claimed, including Debrecen, Szeged and Győr.

"The Agenda 2020 programme is a great and historic opportunity for us and other smaller cities, countries which are not easily able to bid under the previous system," he said.

"Difficulties of providing infrastructure and subsequent use of the facilities goes away following the Agenda 2020 changes.

"As President, I have invited the Olympic Patronage Board to produce a material that can be discussed at the General Meeting in February.

"We have time for preparation."

But a major challenge for Borkai and the HOC looks to come from the city's political authorities, with Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlós having dismissed the bid as "unrealistic" and "unviable" when it was first muted in September.

Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlós has already declared an Olympic bid "unrealistic" ©AFP/Getty ImagesBudapest Mayor Istvan Tarlós has already declared an Olympic bid "unrealistic"
©AFP/Getty Images

A similar collision course between sporting and political authorities seen in other places, most notably in Oslo during its ill-fated bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, could be on the cards.

But Budapest's potential attempt has already been backed by notable Hungarian sportspeople, including London 2012 200 metre breaststroke swimming champion, Daniel Gyurta, who said the thought of an Olympics is his country is already "giving him goosebumps".

The city has never hosted either a Summer or Winter Games, but has bid unsuccessfully for five previous editions, most recently for the 1960 version eventually awarded to Rome.

There is already expected to be a bid from the United States with them due to choose from a shortlist of Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

In terms of European rivals, Germany are expected to put forward either Berlin or Hamburg, while Paris and Rome are currently debating whether to bid, with insidethegames also having learned that consultation with the Turkish Government will take place early next year to discuss a possible sixth Olympic bid from Istanbul, runner-up to Tokyo in the 2020 race.

Baku, Doha and either Pretoria or Gauteng Province in South Africa are other potential contenders. 

Although the deadline for confirming bids is September 15, a special invitation phase for the 2024 Olympic bid process will start on January 15, with the IOC keen to provide more consultation with cities in order to generate more popular support. 

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