Budapest City Assembly Backs Olympic Bid Application By Overwhelming Vote

The Budapest City Assembly Thursday approved the final candidature submission for the Budapest Bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, allowing the project to move forward to the international phase of the campaign.  Only four of 29 assembly members voted against the bid, resulting in an overwhelming endorsement.

Proposed Budapest 2024 Olympic Stadium (Budapest 2024 depiction)
Proposed Budapest 2024 Olympic Stadium (Budapest 2024 depiction)

The third and final set of bid documents covering topics within “Games Delivery, Experience and Venue Legacy” categories is due into International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne February 3.

Bid Chair Balázs Fürjes said “this was a magnificent endorsement of our plans to host the 2024 Games in Budapest.”

The Bid represents a major investment in the city’s infrastructure, the bid claims, and will have an impact far beyond the Games.

István Tarlós, the Mayor of Budapest, said: “If Budapest wins the right to organize the 2024 Olympic Games, developments and investments can be realized in the next few years, rather than further in the future.”

Thursday’s approval of the Olympic Games master plan correlates well with the Budapest 2030 Urban Development plan, meaning that the Games can be the catalyst for the accelerated development of the city for the next generation.

Attila Mizsér, the bid’s director of sport and venues said “[Olympic] Agenda 2020 was our guiding light. Our Plan is the blueprint for the growth of the city as a sporting capital and as a modern urban space for the people of Budapest.”

Fürjes added “the new Olympic agenda makes it possible for a new generation of mid-sized cities to host the Games.  And this new generation of mid-sized cities will create new possibilities for the Olympic Movement.

“This vote further strengthens our bid and with overwhelming support from the government of Hungary it enables us to deliver a brilliant, beautiful Games in a city ready to deliver. Budapest is the right city at the right time.”

But the Budapest bid may still have another hurdle to cross before reaching the final election.  The NOlimpia bid opposition movement in Hungary has organized a signature campaign in order to force a referendum over the project.  The campaign has already collected over 50,000 of the required 138,000 signatures with still three weeks left before the 30-day collection window ends.

Though the bid claims it has 63 per cent support, referendums tend to attract a greater proportion of opposing voters making it more difficult to achieve a 50 per cent result.  In 2015, Hamburg’s 2024 Olympic bid was toppled when it lost its referendum, even after surveys showed overall support in the 60’s.

On Wednesday Budapest’s rival Los Angeles received City Council approval to submit it’s plans to the IOC, and Paris, the third city in the race is also expected to meet the deadline.

From there, the cities will receive an IOC Evaluation Commission visit to review documents and inspect venues.  Budapest will welcome the Commission May 10 while the Paris visit begins May 14.  The Commission will start the three-day visit to Los Angeles April 23.

The three cities will present a technical briefing to IOC members and other stakeholders in Lausanne in July before the final vote occurs at the IOC Session in Lima, Peru on September 13.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of 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.

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