A 2022 Déjà Vu Scenario For IOC As Hamburg 2024 Opponents Call For Referendum Delay

Germany’s Left Party and the NOlympia Olympic opposition group have called for a delay in the planned referendum on the Hamburg 2024 and 2028 Olympic bids at a Wednesday meeting.  NOlympia spokesperson Michael Rothschuh suggested a new date of “late 2016” that will give the public time to digest more accurate information about the Games costs and budget.  Currently, the referendum is scheduled for November 29, eleven weeks following the September 15 application deadline.

Hamburg 2024 Prelminary Logo

Hamburg 2024 Prelminary Logo

Hamburg officials are seeking support for both 2024 and 2028 campaigns in the case that the former fails.  No decision on changing the referendum date has been made.

According to local media reports Christoph Holstein, Hamburg city council representative said that more accurate cost figures will be published by Hamburg 2024 in November before the referendum date – and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Host City Contract will also be released at that time.  But the IOC process looks for the submission of preliminary plans only on January 8, 2016 and doesn’t typically release the host city contract to the public – at any time.

Last week the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) reluctantly released the 2020 Olympic Host City Contract template under mounting pressure from critics of the Boston 2024 bid.  Boston’s bid will also face a binding referendum in November 2016.

The NOlympia group has a loud voice in Germany and has been successful in the past.  The group created doubt for IOC members when Munich was defeated by PyeongChang to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games and helped stop a Munich 2022 bid in its tracks just days before the application deadline.

Two referendums late in 2016 could also pose a dilemma for the IOC when it constructs its shortlist in April or May next year.  If both Boston and Hamburg are selected as candidates as is widely expected, the IOC risks seeing the ballot decimated if both campaigns go on to fail, leaving less choices.

For the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, six applicants quickly became three by the time the short list was announced as cities pulled out or lost a referendum – then three candidates became two when Oslo failed to receive necessary government support.  The two cities, Almaty in Kazakhstan and Beijing are now the unlikely contenders to host the Games.

Rome is solidly in the 2024 race and also expected to to enter are Paris and Budapest with others having the opportunity to apply until the September 15 deadline.  The final vote will be in 2017.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.