July 13, 2011 / 11:32 AM / 8 years ago

Madrid mayor announces third summer Games bid

MADRID (Reuters) - Madrid is planning to bid to host the 2020 summer Olympic Games, the city’s mayor said on Wednesday, in what would be a third attempt after failed efforts to secure the 2012 and 2016 editions.

A view of Madrid's skyline is seen taken from an observation deck on top of the transmission tower commonly known as "Faro de Moncloa" February 2, 2010. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, flanked by spokesmen for the two main political parties, told a news conference he would present a bid proposal to city legislators for a vote on July 20.

The backing of both Ruiz-Gallardon’s conservative Partido Popular PP.L and the Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol PSOE.L, which rules at national level, means the vote would be a formality.

“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.

“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.”

Gallardon’s announcement comes as Spain struggles to cope with an economic crisis gripping the euro zone and the Socialist government strives to trim a public deficit that was almost 10 percent of gross domestic product GDP.L in 2010.

The Spanish capital, which has never hosted a summer Games, made the final round of voting for 2016 but lost out to Rio de Janeiro.

An earlier bid for next year’s Games faltered in the third round of voting when they were beaten into third place by Paris and eventual winners London.

ECONOMIC BOOST

Gallardon said a successful bid for 2020 would provide an “economic boost” both to Madrid and Spain, while Socialist spokesman Jaime Lissavetzky said it had been a tough decision to back the bid at a time of economic hardship.

“If this crisis did not exist, our support would have been automatic because from a sporting standpoint ... opinion is favourable to Madrid,” Lissavetzky, a former secretary of state for sport, added.

So far only Italian capital Rome has been officially confirmed as a candidate for 2020, with the deadline for announcing bids set for September 1.

Olympic Council of Asia President Sheik Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said on Wednesday Qatar were also interested in hosting the 2020 Games, while a senior International Olympic Committee IOC.L member said last week Istanbul would be trying for a fifth time to host a summer Olympics.

Among other cities reported to be close to bidding is Japan’s capital Tokyo. South Africa’s Durban could also lodge a bid despite the government’s initial opposition.

A decision on the 2020 host will be taken in 2013 and Gallardon said Madrid would not spend any cash on infrastructure for the Games until after the voting.

(Additional reporting by Inmaculada Sanz in Madrid and Karolos Grohmann in Berlin)

Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Justin Palmer; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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