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Hamburg 2024 Games bid collapses in referendum defeat

Updated: 2015-11-30 11:47
Hamburg 2024 Games bid collapses in referendum defeat

The main entrance of the Olympic stadium is pictured with the Olympic rings in Berlin, March 9, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

Leaders of the bid had been confident of public backing with a poll taken in March showing 64 percent were in favor of hosting the games.

But public support appeared to be worn down by several high-profile issues, including the refugee crisis; the Paris attacks; a football friendly involving Germany canceled due to a terror scare; scandals at the German football federation and FIFA; and the recent Russian doping scandal. Local activists also argued that the games would drive rents up, and the issue of funding was still not settled before the vote took place.

"We noticed a change of mood in the city," Florian Kasiske of the opposing Olympia group said. "People can see that there are things where the money is better spent."

Organizers calculated the cost of hosting the games in Hamburg and Kiel at 11.2 billion euros ($11.9 billion). The Hamburg senate wanted the government to contribute 6.2 billion euros ($6.6 billion) while the city contributed 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion). Revenues of 3.8 billion euros ($4 billion) were expected to make up the rest.

"The result was heavily influenced by the conditions," Hoermann said.

The IOC said in an emailed statement that it wasn't surprised by the decision, having followed discussions in Germany in recent weeks. It said that Hamburg, Germany and sport in the country had missed out on a "great opportunity," including an IOC investment of $1.7 billion, "which compares to the 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) Hamburg wanted to invest."

"It is understandable that the citizens of Hamburg are very sensitive with regard to the not yet finalized financing plan of the candidature. Even more so in a situation in which Germany has to manage a historic challenge with a high number of refugees coming into the country," the IOC said. "Therefore the high number of yes votes ... is very valuable and supports the position of (the) DOSB about the importance of Olympic Games."

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