South Africa’s Olympic committee president Gideon Sam said Thursday South Africa won’t be bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games because it was not the right time.
Sam told The Associated Press that his committee would only bid if the government gave its backing, and that the project “was off the radar for now” after South Africa’s cabinet said it preferred to focus on national priorities.
Sam said, “our position is very clear. We would bid only if the government gives the go-ahead”.
Chief government spokesman Jimmy Manyi told a post-cabinet media briefing, “the decision taken by cabinet is final”, adding that “job creation is going to be a serious issue. That is where the focus is going to be. So if any money is going to be spent, it’s going to be on basic service delivery”.
He added that the $50 million dollar price tag to bid had also played a role.
Sam said, “no Olympic movement in any country can bid for an Olympics without government support. We always said we would be guided by the government. It is important to be guided by the people with the resources. There is not much a sport organization can do without government support”.
Sam added that South Africa might consider a bid for another Olympics “some time in the future”.
The host city for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games will be selected by the International Olympic Committee in 2013.