By James Crook

89179454March 13 - Vienna's citizens have resoundingly rejected the city's plans to bid to host the 2028 Olympic and Paralympics Games in a referendum by a 72-28 per cent majority.

"We accept the result of the referendum," said Karl Stoss, President of the Austrian Olympic Committee (OeOC)

"We would welcome any investments in sporting infrastructure by the city of Vienna so that we can offer top training conditions to our athletes and so that, from now on, Vienna can regularly stage big international sporting events, even if they are not on the scale of the Olympics."

Austria has never hosted the Summer Games before, but the city of Innsbruck did host the Winter Olympics on two occasions, in 1964 and 1976, as well as last year's inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games.

Matches at the 2008 UEFA European Championships were also played in various cities across the country in a joint hosting venture with Switzerland.

Vienna Mayor Michael Hauepl had hoped that the people of the city shared his views that an Olympic Games would provide a timely boost for Vienna, but he has accepted the decision of the public and ruled out a bid for the Summer or Winter Games.

"Too bad, but that's how it is," he said.

1232565The Austrian city of Innsbruck hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 (pictured) and 1976

The main cause for votes against bidding to host the Games is due to the cost, which was expected to be around €10 billion (£8.7 billion/$13 billion) for new venues and infrastructure should their bid be successful, though some new investment is still a possibility.

The turnout for the referendum was a slight increase of 2.44 per cent from 2010, a total of just under 30 per cent of the city's inhabitants registering their votes.

This news comes just 10 days after residents of Graubünden canton in Switzerland scuppered plans for a joint bid from Davos and St. Moritz to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, with 52.7 per cent of voters rejecting the proposal.

Contact the writer of this story at james.crook@insidethegames.biz


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