New York, New York (PressExposure) July 19, 2011 -- [http://www.sportbusiness.com/news/183959/madrid-and-istanbul-set-to-enter-2020-olympics-bidding-race]
The Spanish capital of Madrid and Istanbul in Turkey are set to join the race to host the 2020 Olympics after the two cities moved a step closer to submitting official bids on Wednesday.
At a press conference, Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, flanked by spokesmen for the two main political parties in Spain, said he would present a bid proposal to city legislators for a vote on July 20. Madrid came desperately close to securing the hosting rights in the tenders for the 2012 and 2016 Games. Although there are serious concerns about Spain's economy, and the country's Sports Minister has admitted "if this (financial downturn) did not exist, our support would have been automatic", Ruiz-Gallardon insisted that the Games could provide a timely boost.
"Madrid has finished an extremely high percentage of the infrastructure needed for the organisation of the Olympics and Paralympics and can count on the experience of the previous two bids and the recognition of the Olympic family," Gallardon said, according to Reuters. "The completed work means the cost of the bid will be significantly less, following criterion of austerity and efficiency with the highest possible return for the image of Madrid and Spain."
Turkey's Sports Minister, Suat Kilic, told CNN-Turk television on Wednesday that Turkey was set to make its bid for the 2020 Games official, and added: "We are one of the rare countries that can shoulder the financial burden of the Olympics." Kilic said that a final decision would be made by July 29 after a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, although the International Olympic Committee's deadline for applicant city nominations is September 1.
Istanbul mounted four consecutive failed bids for the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. If Turkey does confirm Istanbul's applicant city status, it will face competition from Southern Europe in the form of Italy, with Rome the only city so far to confirm it has entered the bidding. Berlin could also provide competition on the continent, with the city's Mayor Klaus Wowereit telling Der Tagesspiegel newspaper on Wednesday: "Berlin is ready for the Olympic Games and Berlin has all the requirements."
However, the German National Olympic Committee, which saw Munich lose out to PyeongChang in last week's vote for the 2018 Winter Olympics, has suggested there may not be enough time to table a bid for 2020. A bid from the Qatari capital of Doha may materialise, though, according to Olympic Council of Asia president Sheik Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. "I hear Doha have an interest," Sheikh Ahmad told Japan's Kyodo news agency. "This is what I'm hearing, but we don't have anything officially announced yet." The Japanese capital of Tokyo is also expected to announce a formal bid in the coming days after missing out on the 2016 Games.