Tony Estanguet speaks at a press conference. GETTY IMAGES

Paris 2024's payroll has increased by more than a hundred million euros since the bid was submitted, reaching 584 million euros, the Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (COJOP) announced on Wednesday.

The president of the Paris Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Cojo), Tony Estanguet, justified the increase in the committee's payroll after being questioned by MPs. "The amount of the payroll is currently 584 million euros, which represents 13% of the committee's budget, which is much lower than the last organising committee of the Games and many companies," he said during a hearing before the Assembly's Cultural Affairs Committee.

LR deputy Maxime Minot and PS deputy Claudia Rouaux, who is also a member of the COJO's Remuneration Committee, questioned Tony Estanguet about the increase in the payroll of more than 100 million euros and "about a recent salary increase of €45,000 on a basic annual salary of €155,000". The National Financial Prosecutor opened an investigation into Tony Estanguet's remuneration conditions earlier this year.

"What is being asked of this team is to do what has never been done in this country. This has been done by experts who have validated a salary table," he continued, explaining that there are "highly sought after skills". The remuneration committee is "independent", he added.

"We have to recruit people in a fairly short space of time and we have to keep them until the delivery," he stressed. He also pointed out that there were four new sports at the Paris Games, an opening ceremony in the city, inflation and explained a recent pay rise "or reasons of pay equity".

The Interministerial Delegate for the Olympic Games, Michel Cadot, added that the COJO board had validated these salaries. He added that the COJO's budget was "closely monitored" by the state and assured that there was "no significant imbalance".

In its documentary "Complément d'enquête" ("Supplementary Inquiry") broadcast on Thursday, France 2 revealed that the payroll had risen from 470 million euros to 584 million euros. "It has evolved due to the evolution of the project's scope," explained Fabrice Lacroix, Paris 2024's administrative and financial director, during a virtual press conference.

The programme also analysed the investigations carried out by the financial prosecutor, particularly with regard to Tony Estanguet's remuneration and the suspicion of favouritism in the awarding of contracts. "We have added four additional sports that did not exist at the time of the bid. We have added a territorial dimension that did not exist. We have greatly enriched the project," he explained.

As for Tony Estanguet's salary, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the French Minister for Sport and the Olympic Games, said it was well deserved: "It's a lot, a lot, a lot of work over the years. It's a lot of work. If we compare it with what he used to earn, it's significantly less. I'll say it again, it's a lot of work, a lot of experience, a lot of pressure, a lot of responsibility, including criminal law. (...) We need the best expertise if we want to offer fantastic games."

Amélie Oudéa-Castéra then stressed that the Organising Committee's budget was not based on public funds, although the state would cover any deficit up to a maximum of three billion euros. "96% of the Organising Committee's funding comes from private sources. It's a profit-making partnership. It is a private entity that takes its decisions in a regulated context. In particular, through a remuneration committee that is guaranteed to analyse the networks for this type of profession, looking at the world of sport, what is done abroad, what is done in the world of events."

The provisional bill for Paris 2024 - a mix of public and private money - currently stands at around €9 billion. The Olympic Organising Committee (COJO) has a budget of €4.4 billion, 96% of which is private money, and the budget of SOLIDEO, which is responsible for building the permanent facilities, is also €4.4 billion, of which €1.7 billion is public money.

Until recently, the figure quoted for the public cost of the Paris 2024 Olympics was three billion euros, but Pierre Moscovici, the first president of the Court of Auditors, has admitted that the bill will rise. Speaking to France Inter on Tuesday, he suggested that the cost could rise to four or five billion euros.