‘I don’t feel the candidacy is in danger’ regional president says of French Alps 2030 Winter Olympics bid – How did we get here?

The new IOC bid process was supposed to eliminate the risk of last minute drop-outs, yet here we are. The snap election is an excuse, but why weren't government guarantees signed months ago?

(Left to right) IOC Future Host Commission Chair Karl Stoss, CNOSF President David Lappartient and CPSF President Marie-Amélie Le Fur at press conference following French Alps 2030 Winter Olympic bid technical visit April 26, 2024 (CNOSF video screen capture)
(Left to right) IOC Future Host Commission Chair Karl Stoss, CNOSF President David Lappartient and CPSF President Marie-Amélie Le Fur at press conference following French Alps 2030 Winter Olympic bid technical visit April 26, 2024 (CNOSF video screen capture)

The approval of the French Alps 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board earlier this month is subject to significant conditions, but that hasn’t deterred bid officials or the IOC following what could have been the final presentation in the campaign on Wednesday.

Lacking the mandatory delivery guarantee from the French government and a “confirmation of a public partnership contribution to the Games organization budget from the two regions of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and the French Government,” this bid has gone further than any other campaign in recent history without these critical elements already in place. In the past, bids were required to submit government guarantees up to a year ahead of the final election or they risked being dropped ahead the short list candidacy phase.

Now the bid needs to wait until after July 7, the conclusion of the French election called hastily by President Emmanuel Macron earlier this month, leaving only two weeks to work out partnerships with potentially new governments ahead of a final vote.

Undeterred, the French Alps bid committee along with officials from the Salt Lake City 2034 Winter Games bid delivered online technical presentations to about 100 IOC members – meeting them for the first time before they are expected to rubber stamp both projects July 24 at the Palais des Congrès in Paris just ahead of the Summer Games.

“I still came [to the presentation] with some concern about what is happening but we have a very good file, very well prepared, and in the questions that emerge,” Renaud Muselier, President of the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur said following the meeting.

“I do not feel the candidacy in danger, she is still on track and very good.”

The IOC’s Future Host Commission chair, Austrian Karl Stoss told reporters this month that he is confident French officials will provide the necessary approvals in the allotted time, pointing to past assurances by government officials.

French Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said, according to French newspapar L’Equipe “given the elections, the President of the Republic, in this case the Prime Minister, cannot commit to the guarantee today but we are committed in principle to delivering it between July 8 and 24.”

“For the moment, no one contests or calls [the bid] into question,” she added, assuring any future government will sign the guarantees, regardless of the winner.

“We have not seen hostility to the French Alps 2030 candidacy so there is no reason [not to sign],” said French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) President and IOC member David Lappartient.

He explained the issue of the guarantees didn’t even come up in the question and answer period following the 30 minute presentation, adding “we delivered a quality performance where the complementarity was seen between each other.”

“We explained our concept. Everyone played their part. They felt the complementarity between the Olympic movement, the regions, the State, the commitments of each other. We had few questions, 4 or 5, of a rather sporting nature.”

Accompanying Muselier, Oudéa-Castera and Lappartient at the presentation were Marie Amélie Le Fur from the French Paralympic Committee, Paralympian Marie Bochet and Fabrice Pannecoucke who was standing in for President of the Regional Council of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Laurent Wauquiez who was out campaigning for the election.

French Alps and the IOC find themselves in this predicament after the bid emerged late in the race, forming just a few months before the IOC singled the project out for targeted dialogue last November. The French plans were still in development while more established bids from Switzerland and Sweden were left out in the cold with little explanation. While host regions in France were still being established after becoming the sole preferred candidate, government guarantees remained elusive.

The new, less formal bid process established in 2019 allows for the Future Host Commission and the Executive Board to make decisions without an established timetable and behind closed doors. It is also designed to fully vet candidates in advance so only the most qualified are recommended to the Executive Board and IOC Session for election, a strategy to avoid the embarrassment of potential hosts withdrawing or being dropped from the race.

In this case that strategy may have been misused, or might just fail – drawing the whole process into question.

The USD $2.3 billion French Alps 2030 project will use mostly existing venues, some from the Albertville 1992 Winter Games that will require “moderate upgrades” according to the IOC report. A USD $61 million planned arena will be built in Nice.

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.

scroll to top