IOC of­fers no ex­tra cash for Games

Of­fi­cial says Cal­gary has ex­per­tise, in­fra­struc­ture to host Olympics

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - MEGHAN POTKINS

In a whirl­wind visit to Cal­gary, just three weeks ahead of a plebiscite on the Olympics, mem­bers of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee are urg­ing Cal­gar­i­ans to em­brace the Games once again.

Speak­ing to re­porters at Canada Olympic Park on Wednes­day, IOC ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Christophe Dubi said Cal­gary al­ready has all the ex­per­tise and nearly all the in­fra­struc­ture it needs to host an­other Olympics.

He also said Cal­gary’s “low-risk” bid fits well with the IOC’s goal to de­crease the fi­nan­cial bur­den on po­ten­tial host coun­tries.

“Let’s make sure we cre­ate the op­por­tu­nity for Cal­gary to shine once more on the world stage. This would be fan­tas­tic for Cal­gary, but it would be great for the Games as well,” Dubi said.

But while IOC of­fi­cials were happy to heap praise on Cal­gary’s bid, they also made it clear the or­ga­ni­za­tion won’t be of­fer­ing any more money to cover the cost of host­ing in 2026.

The IOC has pledged US$925 mil­lion to the host city of the 2026 Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games. Dubi said the or­ga­ni­za­tion isn’t in a po­si­tion to sweeten the pot any fur­ther.

“As a non-profit, we don’t have the fi­nan­cial re­serves that al­low us to com­mit out­side of what we can to­day,” Dubi said. “The $925 (mil­lion) is the ab­so­lute max­i­mum that we can go to.

“It’s not a lack of will­ing­ness. We are fund­ing the whole sports move­ment and we keep, as IOC, what is needed to cover our op­er­a­tions.”

Some mem­bers of city coun­cil, as well as Premier Rachel Not­ley, have sug­gested that Cal­gary should seek more fi­nan­cial sup­port from the IOC as the num­ber of vi­able host city can­di­dates for the 2026 Win­ter Games con­tin­ues to dwin­dle.

But at Wednes­day ’s news con­fer­ence, Cal­gary 2026 CEO Mary Mo­ran threw cold wa­ter on that idea.

“The IOC is not go­ing to put in­vest­ment into cap­i­tal here — that’s not the IOC’s busi­ness, to build venues for cities,” Mo­ran said, point­ing out that the IOC has also pledged to share any ad­di­tional com­mer­cial rev­enue should the 2026 Games turn a profit.

“They are putting $1.2 bil­lion (Cana­dian) into our bid, which is a lot of money. If you line that up against the civic and pro­vin­cial part­ners, it’s as much as they have in­di­cated they are putting in. So I think that they are good part­ners.”

Cal­gary ’s host plan pegs the pub­lic por­tion of the Olympic bill at $3 bil­lion. The to­tal cost of the Games is es­ti­mated to be about $5.2 bil­lion.

Cal­gar­i­ans have been wait­ing for clar­ity on ex­actly how much each or­der of gov­ern­ment will con­trib­ute to the project and what the im­pact could be on tax­pay­ers.

So far, the prov­ince has com­mit­ted $700 mil­lion to­ward the cost of Cal­gary host­ing. The city says it won’t de­clare what its con­tri­bu­tion will be un­til the fed­eral num­ber is an­nounced, which could come this week.

Mo­ran said Wednes­day that it’s “pure spec­u­la­tion” that there will be a short­fall in gov­ern­ment fund­ing for the Games. She said ne­go­ti­a­tions con­tinue with gov­ern­ments while the bid cor­po­ra­tion looks for pos­si­ble sav­ings in the host plan bud­get.

“We’ll leave no stone un­turned,” she said.

Cal­gary 2026 says it in­vited IOC of­fi­cials to visit the city ahead of the Nov. 13 plebiscite in or­der to an­swer any ques­tions Cal­gar­i­ans have be­fore the vote.

Olympic of­fi­cials be­gan their visit by meet­ing with Treaty 7 mem­bers on Tues­day. The group also met with busi­ness lead­ers and po­lit­i­cal of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing city staff.

Asked if the IOC is con­cerned that a neg­a­tive out­come from Cal­gary ’s plebiscite next month could doom the Cana­dian bid — as it has in coun­tries such as Switzer­land, which voted down a bid last June — Dubi said they aren’t con­cerned, but are hop­ing for the best.

“We shouldn’t be con­cerned about ref­er­en­dums. It’s healthy. Democ­racy is healthy,” Dubi said.

“Re­sults are im­mensely im­por­tant. We want a pos­i­tive re­sult.”

GAVIN YOUNG

IOC ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Christophe Dubi says the or­ga­ni­za­tion is not in a po­si­tion to sweeten the pot beyond the US$925 mil­lion pledged.

GAVIN YOUNG

Cana­dian skele­ton team mem­bers train at Canada Olympic Park on Wednes­day.

Comments

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.