German Sports Dealt Blow As Hamburg 2024 Defeated In Referendum

Hamburg 2024 bid opponents interject a "NO" adjacent to the human Olympic ring emblem (Photo from Twitter)

Hamburg 2024 bid opponents interject a “NO” adjacent to the human Olympic ring emblem (Photo from Twitter)

In a blow to the Germany’s Olympic movement, the Hamburg 2024 Olympic bid was narrowly defeated after voters in Hamburg and Kiel rejected the proposal in a binding referendum Sunday.  Needing more than 50 per cent of the vote from over 20 per cent of the eligible voters, the unsuccessful months-long campaign means that the German city must drop out of the race and will not go on to face bidders from Budapest, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome.

Although the vote count is not yet official as some votes still need to be counted, the vote unofficially was 51.7 to 48.3 per cent against a Hamburg bid for the 2024 Summer Games.

Hamburg’s Mayor Olaf Scholz announced that Hamburg would not be bidding for the 2024 Games.

This will be a major disappointment to the German sports authority (DOSB) who have been trying to win the right to host either the Summer or Winter Games for the past decade.  In 2013 a similar referendum in Munich to approve the 2022 Olympic Winter Games bid was defeated.

The unfavourable results will also be of concern to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who have been faced with declining interest from cities and constituents hoping to host the biggest multi-sport event on the planet.  Earlier this year low support in Boston forced the USOC to switch its nomination to Los Angeles instead.  For the 2022 Winter Games four European cites abandoned their bids mid-campaign and for the 2020 bid Rome dropped its campaign when the Italian bid couldn’t secure crucial guarantees.

With Hamburg out of the race, only four cities remain eligible for the final election ballot continuing a trend of lower bidder interest since five cities made the shortlist during the 2012, 2008 and earlier bids.

A concept drawing of the Hamburg 2024 Olympic City (Credit: DOSB)

A concept drawing of the Hamburg 2024 Olympic City (Credit: DOSB)

This will be a personal setback too for IOC President Thomas Bach who through his Agenda 2020 reforms has been trying to bolster international interest in hosting the Olympic Games, yet has so far faced failure to do so right at home.

NDR reports that though the results were announced Sunday, they will be checked for accuracy and finalized Thursday before becoming official on December 15.

The remaining four cities, are now required to submit the phase 1 bid book to the IOC, including all necessary financial guarantees.

The two-year bid campaign will conclude September 2017 when the IOC elects a winner at its all-members session in Lima, Peru.

More to come as this story develops.

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