Madrid City Council Approve Intended Bid for 2020 Olympic Games

July 21, 2011

Madrid City Council has approved an intended bid for the 2020 Olympics, despite opposition from two political parties that expressed serious concerns about the financial predicament of the Spanish capital.

The vote was carried by the support of Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon’s conservative Partido Popular and the Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol, which is the ruling party at national level.

However, with the city having accumulated debts of nearly US$10 billion, both the Izquierda Unida (IU) and Union Progreso y Democracia (UPD) parties, who oppose a third consecutive bid for the city, claimed that the money used for bidding and potentially hosting the Games could be better invested in public services.

Madrid Deputy Mayor Manuel Cobo told legislators that the city “cannot let this opportunity pass”. Cobo added that around four-fifths of the required infrastructure was already in place for the Games, while Spanish Sports Minister Jaime Lissavetzky suggested US$28 million could be raised from private sources that would render the bid “zero cost”.

However, IU spokesman Angel Perez said: “Madrid’s goal as a city should not be to organise an Olympic Games but instead a fairer project that is more balanced in a political and social sense”.

Spain has economic problems with unemployment of more than 20%, according to the latest figures.

UPD spokesman David Ortega added: “We cannot ask citizens to make this enormous effort because in the end it will be them who pay the bills. It’s not acceptable that there is no money for senior citizens’ homes, public schools or assistance for small and mid-sized firms but there is for the sporting facilities for the Olympic Games.”

Rome and Tokyo have confirmed they are bidding for the 2020 Olympics while Istanbul is likely to enter the tender. The International Olympic Committee will select the winning bid in Buenos Aires in September 2013.