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It is a certainty, the organizers of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will have to find ways to save money to deal with the budgetary consequences of the coronavirus crisis.
The impact of the health crisis on the budget for the organization of the Olympic Games, which must amount to 3.8 billion euros, almost entirely financed by private revenue (sponsors, ticketing, contribution from the International Olympic Committee), appeared on the agenda of an executive office of Paris 2024, initially scheduled for Thursday, July 2 but finally postponed in extremis to a later date, due to changes in municipal teams from the various next sites. The Paris 2024 board of directors, slated for a week, has also been postponed.
No longer submit to all IOC requirements
On a two-day visit to Paris next week, Thomas Bach, IOC president, should not escape discussions on the balanced budget for the event. And we can even envisage that Paris will ask for more flexibility on the part of the international organization for the realization of the Games. The days when the organizing city and the country had to submit to all IOC requirements now seem to be over. ” The level of service during the Olympic Games is delusional. It is possible to reduce a little without affecting the quality, especially for the transport of athletes and officials “, Describes to AFP an elected official in a community concerned.
Tony Estanguet, head of the Organizing Committee for the 2024 Olympic Games (Cojo), has always argued that it was necessary to spend ” only what’s in the boxes ” And even if the search for sponsors is progressing and that it is up to expectations, according to an important member of Cojo who affirms that the crisis ” did not freeze the progress of discussions with future partners », It will be necessary to move the lines of the specifications to adapt it to the current situation and the economic crisis.
If Orange should arrive as a Premium partner this fall, some must regret even more the disengagement of Total (which promised a check of more than 100 million euros), under pressure from the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo. Which had given rise to a backstroke between her and Estanguet. The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron had even commented on France Info: ” It is easier to dismiss private money by giving moral lessons than to find it, so now we must collectively mobilize all French funders. Anne Hidalgo could be intransigent, the city of Paris is not accountable for the liabilities of the Olympic Games. The State remains the guarantor.
Transport at the heart of the debate
Four years from the deadline, it will therefore be necessary to show inventiveness in the face of budgetary problems. One of the most flagrant examples remains that of delays in the construction of metro lines 16 and 17 of the future Grand Paris Express.
After the confirmation, on June 22, by the Secretary of State for Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, that these lines would not be delivered in time to Le Bourget, in Seine-Saint-Denis, the organizers will have to find alternative solutions to serve this Olympic zone, where shooting and volleyball must be fought, but which must above all welcome the center and the “media village”, which should not be sacrificed on the altar of savings. However, a reduction in the number of dwellings (1,500 planned in the file) could be envisaged. New challenge for Paris 2024: finding a plan B to get people to the sites. An additional cost that the organizers see with a bad eye. ” The reality is that the subject is key to the organization “Slips a member of Cojo.
In early May, Tony Estanguet had set a course: find ways to save in ” behind the scenes of the Olympics Like catering, security and transportation. These will certainly no longer be a source of savings, but additional lines in the budget.
Do not give up the “legacy” left to the territories
As another economy, the Cojo has already considered reducing the number of beds in the Olympic village from 18,000 to 15,000.
In addition, at the end of April, the total bill for the operation to build the Olympic aquatic center in Saint-Denis, the flagship equipment of the Olympic Games, was reassessed to 174.7 million euros in public funds, against 113 initially.
But Paris 2024 does not want to give up the “heritage” left to the territories. However, the organizers are unable to assess the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis over the next four years in France. They will therefore have to give themselves room to maneuver to stay in the budget, and there will certainly be dissatisfied.
« We can see if there are savings to be made, let’s leave aside the “Bling-bling” which sometimes characterizes the Olympic Games, and I’m not necessarily talking about Paris 2024. But there is no question of sacrificing the heritage for the Seine-Saint-Denis “Warns Stéphane Troussel (PS), president of the Seine-Saint-Denis departmental council, one of the poorest departments in France.
To start, Paris 2024 will have to reconfigure or delay certain recruitments. And above all, agree to all the stakeholders in this budget file, which has become thorny in the space of a few months.