Prague interested in hosting summer Olympics

29-11-2004

Prague is seriously considering making a bid to host the summer Olympic Games. Although two previous bids were unsuccessful, the city hall authorities feel that this time things could really work out. Although the target years are 2016 or 2020, the city hall has already unveiled big plans for the event.

Third time lucky, they say, and this time the Prague city hall seems determined to make it come true. It commissioned PriceWaterhouseCoopers with a study assessing the feasibility of hosting a summer Olympics. And the outcome of that study is more than encouraging. Miroslav Singer of PWC:

"We found that the direct cost of the games would be around 4 billion euros out of which about two billion euros would be covered from private resources -revenues of Olympics or development revenues and the remaining 50 percent would have to be covered from the Czech budget or other public budgets such as that of the sports association or regional budgets."

The city hall says that hosting the Olympics would actually bring in profit - is that right?

"Yes, it is right. According to our conclusions the whole country would profit. It is important to understand that these two billion euro which are to be covered from public funds would bring to the economy almost two billion euros that would never otherwise go into it and the impact of this would be such that even after paying the money there would be another 0.8 billion euros profit for the whole economy - showing up as profit of enterprises or private citizens."

With just over 1 million inhabitants, Prague is a relatively small city - which has its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it has a dense and well functioning public transport network but it would have to build additional sports facilities and dormitories. The president of the Czech Olympics Committee Milan Jirasek claims that the necessary facilities could easily be finished in time for the games and that Prague would benefit from them in future years.

"There isn't a great deal left to be done. Maybe a central stadium which could serve for sports events in the future. Today there is a tendency to build these Olympics sites in view of future use - ie. they shouldn't be too expensive, not too big, capacity-wise, and located so as to have their use in the future."

The Czech Republic has until 2007 to decide whether or not it is in a position to place a bid. If the PriceWaterhouseCoopers study is to be believed, it has much to gain and little to loose in doing so.

29-11-2004

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