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New chief for France's 2018 Winter Olympics bid would welcome more funding

Text by Emmanuel VERSACE

Latest update : 2011-01-12

Annecy, in the French Alps, is one of three cities bidding to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. On Monday businessman Charles Beigbeder was appointed to lead the city’s bid team. FRANCE24 interviews the man now charged with the task.

There’s been a new twist in Annecy’s bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The city’s bid team became leaderless last December, when former Olympic champion Edgar Grospiron resigned over a budget dispute. After a brief period of confusion, influential businessman Charles Beigbeder was appointed to the post. He’ll now be responsible for preparing Annecy’s bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. According to France's Minister for Sport Chantal Jouanno, one of the problems with Annecy’s bid has been its lackluster lobbying of IOC members. Will fixing this be your priority?
Charles Beigbeder: In a way, yes. The objective is to convince the majority of the 113 IOC members who will elect the host city of the 2018 Olympics. It would be good to focus on their expectations and showcase anything that could work in our favor; the economic strengths of the region, media, countries participating in the vote. We are not starting from scratch, but we have only six months to convince them that we have the best portfolio. Annecy officially filed its bid at IOC headquarters in Lausanne well before the deadline and the other candidate cities. Did you push for that?
CB: I started my job today (January 11, 2011 ), so I hadn’t asked for it to be done. But I think it was a very good idea. It's a way to show that we are ready. A few weeks ago, Edgar Grospiron resigned the leadership post because he felt that the Annecy 2018 bid budget [20 million euros] was too low to compete with Munich (Germany) and Pyeongchang (South Korea). Do you also think that money is a problem?
CB: It's not a question of money. With a set budget, we can make things work. But it’s clear that we have a solid bid with sites as good as those of our competitors. That said, we would be happy to have extra funding to be able to do more communication. We can’t deny that additional funds would be welcome. How much would you think you need and who will you ask?
CB: We’re going to ask for the same amount requested before. We will of course ask for more public funds, but also ask the private sector to help us as well. I’ve been told there’s a lot of [corporate] interest in getting involved with the bid. What’s the next step for the bid?
CB: From February 8 to 12 we will receive a delegation from the IOC. We should show them that our candidacy is excellent, that the people in Annecy support the Olympics and above all show them that the ambience is good.


Date created : 2011-01-12