Budapest to stop, the race for the Games in the unknown

Budapest, Feb 20, 2017: Viktor Orban, They left at five. They could very soon find themselves in two. Two candidates for one place. And even, who knows, two rivals but no beaten. After Hamburg in November 2015, then Rome last spring, a third postulant at the Summer Games in 2024 could very soon put his thumbs.

The Budapest 2024 team made the painful but necessary decision to put its candidature provisionally to a halt. A prerequisite for a much more radical option: the withdrawal of the race.

Threatened for several weeks by a referendum on the Olympic project, the team of Budapest 2024 saw its fears come to fruition. Worse. The petition launched by the Momentum Movement, a political youth group opposed to the Games and the regime of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, managed to collect 266,151 signatures (photo above). It called for the organization of a public consultation on the candidature of the Hungarian capital and had to reach at least 138,000 signatories in order to achieve its objective.

In fact, the municipal authorities now have 45 days to study the validity of the signatures and, if necessary, to organize the referendum. They may not need it. Faced with the scale of the success of the anti-Games petition, the mayor of Budapest, Istvan Tarlos, seems determined to take the lead. He explained to the Hungarian website that he could propose as of Wednesday 23 February to the Municipal Assembly the pure and simple termination of the application. The time to consult the other two stakeholders, namely the government and the Hungarian Olympic Committee. Two other pillars of the Olympic project that have ensured the final decision for two days now belongs to the Budapest City Hall.

In the meantime, the candidate team has put their files in the fridge. “As long as it is not certain that the unity around the Olympic Games in Budapest can be restored, Budapest 2024 suspends the contracts already signed, will not place new orders, and will no longer spend the funds allocated to this bid, The Bid Committee said in a statement.

The name of Budapest could be removed from the race as early as Wednesday, without even waiting for the outcome of a possible referendum. But the Momentum Movement is already opposed to such a solution. Its president, Andras Fekete-Gyor, explained last Saturday that a withdrawal of the candidacy would be an act of “cowardice” of the municipal authorities. The opposition group wants a popular consultation, convinced that its result would strengthen its position and weaken the regime in power.

For the IOC, the prospect of a withdrawal from Budapest sounds like bad news. It would reduce the race to two candidates, Los Angeles and Paris. A kind of remake of a film played four years earlier for the award of the Winter Games in 2022, where Beijing and Almaty were very lonely at the time of the final decision.

This time, however, the rule of the game could change during the game. Last December, Thomas Bach suggested for the first time the idea of reforming the application process. He had mentioned the idea that the IOC session in Lima in September should be the host city for the Games of 2024 and the Games of 2028. Since then, the German leader had ceased to exist spoken. But, according to several sources inside the Olympic organization, such a scenario remained current.

Present at the end of the week in St. Moritz, where he attended the end of the World Alpine Skiing, Thomas Bach came out of his hat the idea of a double vote. “I like people to talk about the Olympic bid process, it shows that they are concerned about it,” said the IOC President. I must say that we appreciate it. “

Until then, nothing stunning. But Thomas Bach was a little more precise about the possibility of a two-stage election during the Lima session. “We are discussing it,” he answered a question from an Associated Press reporter . Things depend on timing. But we have several options. “

The teams of Los Angeles and Paris have never hidden targeting only the Games of 2024, avoiding the possibility of applying for the edition 2028. A legitimate speech. It remains to be seen what their position would be in the event that the IOC decides to change the rules during the game. —- francsjeux

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