Madrid and Istanbul Confirm Intention to Bid for 2020 Olympic Games

July 14, 2011

Spain’s capital city Madrid and Istanbul in Turkey are to join the race to host the 2020 Olympic Games after the two cities confirmed that they intend to submit official bids.

Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, joined 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 will be bidding for the third consecutive time after coming close to securing the hosting rights for the 2012 and 2016 Games.

The remaining doubts over Madrid’s bid surround 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”, but Ruiz-Gallardon insisted that the Games could provide a timely boost.

Gallardon said: “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. 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 Turkish television  that Turkey was set to make its bid for the 2020 Games official, saying: “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.

The International Olympic Committee’s deadline for applicant city nominations is September 1.

Istanbul has history of failing to win the rights to host the Olympic Games, with four consecutive failed bids for the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Istanbul 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, whilst Berlin could also provide competition after the city’s Mayor Klaus Wowereit said: “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.

The Qatari capital of Doha may decide to bid, though, according to Olympic Council of Asia president Sheik Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. “I hear Doha have an interest, 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, but Jacques Rogge last week said that their chances would be reduced by neighbours’ Pyeongchang’s hosting of the preceding Winter Games.