Edgar Grospiron, former head of Annecy 2018, told The Associated Press Monday he quit after the supervisory board approved a budget increase of only $2.6 million for Annecy’s bid.
Grospiron said he wasn’t given enough money to compete with the two rival candidates in the final months of the campaign. “….with the time we have left and with the budget we have, I can’t. I have to leave and let others try to do it”.
He added, “we have a lot of important things to do, but we just don’t have the means to be competitive”.
Grospiron told The Associated Press Annecy needs the extra money to hire advisers and experts, produce promotional films and videos, make international bid presentations, and prepare for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluation commission visit in February.
He said, “you look at the level of our rivals and we are not at the same level. We are behind them”.
Grospiron has long recognized this budget challenge but believed it would be resolved; in March he told GamesBids.com “for the moment the budget of $21 million is set up with public money and private partners, but as you can see, we don’t have the biggest partners, the biggest enterprises or the biggest French enterprises. Now into the bid we are already meeting with them to bring them to support the bid… – it’s going to come.”
Annecy is competing against PyeongChang and Munich for the 2018 Winter Games.
Meanwhile IOC President Jacques Rogge said in Switzerland that Annecy can still catch up. He said, “we’ve had very many changes in the past with other candidates who have ended up successful. I have confidence in my French friends to find the person who must lead the remainder of the candidature. There’s still 7-1/2 months, and then all the work that has been done in the past is not lost. There’s no need to panic”.
Grospiron said, “the Olympics deserves investments, it deserves expertise. We are just not at the level of that today”.
Grospiron wouldn’t discuss Annecy’s chances of winning but said the board, “thinks they can since they decided to continue with the bid”.
Although he will no longer have a public role, Grospiron said he remains available to help with the transition and work behind the scenes, reports The Associated Press.