News 3 days ago

Los Angeles only has eyes for 2024 Olympics amid deal speculation

AFP

Los Angeles (AFP) -

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has insisted that the city remains solely focused on staging the Olympics in 2024 amid speculation of a deal which could see rival bid Paris handed the games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed last week it will study the possibility of awarding both the 2024 and 2028 Olympics at the same time when the body meets for a crunch vote in Lima in September.

Under one scenario, Paris could be chosen as hosts for the 2024 Olympics -- 100 years after last staging the Games -- with Los Angeles handed the right to host the extravaganza four years later.

LA 2024 officials have consistently played down speculation surrounding a possible joint award, maintaining that the focus remained on a 2024 bid.

And Garcetti, one of the leaders of the Los Angeles bid, reiterated that position in an interview with the insidethegames.biz sports news website.

"We are competing for 2024. Full stop," insidethegames quoted him as saying on Monday. "I would love to visit my friends in Paris in 2028. We have never contemplated anything else."

Garcetti said the IOC had briefed LA 2024 officials on the ruling to investigate a joint award following its executive board meeting in Pyeongchang last week.

"They have kept us abreast of the conversations they are having, which is appropriate," Garcetti said, adding that he was sympathetic to the views of IOC chief Thomas Bach, who is concerned the bidding process creates "too many losers."

"I support those kind of conversations," Garcetti said. "There are too many cities that lose, it costs way too much (to bid). 

"I support those kind of reforms but that is a bigger question for the future. 

"We are focused on the present, which is a bid for 2024. We will play by the rules and the rules today say this is a competition for 2024."

Soaring costs have made hosting the Olympics prohibitive, deterring cities from bidding for the four-yearly sporting spectacular.

Budapest last month became the third city to pull out of the bidding for 2024, following public opposition sparked by fears over costs and corruption.

Germany's Hamburg withdrew after a referendum in late 2015, and Rome cancelled its bid last year, with its mayor Virginia Raggi calling it "irresponsible" for the city's finances.

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