IOC stands by Agenda 2020 ideals as Budapest bids farewell to 2024 Olympics race
The International Olympic Committee has expressed disappointment after being officially informed by the MOB, the Hungarian Olympic Committee, that Budapest's bid to stage the 2024 Olympics had been withdrawn.
Budapest only decided to bid for the games after the IOC introduced Agenda 2020, a series of measures aimed at making the Olympic Games more appealing and cheaper to host.
However, Hungarian politicians pulled the plug on the bid at meetings on Wednesday following the breakdown of political unity and opposition from local citizens, with more than 260,000 signatures for a referendum, amid claims that the games were to costly to host.
Defending Agenda 2020, the IOC said in a statement on Friday: "It is disappointing that this decision had to be taken – the candidature committee had presented an excellent project, which has built on the reforms contained in Olympic Agenda 2020. It also demonstrated that smaller cities and smaller countries can stage the Olympic Games in a feasible and sustainable way.
"For all these reasons, the IOC can appreciate the success of Olympic Agenda 2020 as far as the organisation of sustainable Olympic Games that fit into the long-term development plan of a city, region and country is concerned. This success is further demonstrated by the statements of Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris, that, without the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, there would not have been any candidates.
"We sympathise with those who put so much work into the candidature and their many supporters."
Reflecting on the near two-year bid process, Budapest 2024 chairman Balazs Furjes had said: “There is no greater honour in world sport than hosting the Olympic Games, and we are immensely proud to have been part of the 2024 bid family. We chose to bid because we believed, and continue to believe, in the transformative power of sport and the values of the Olympic Movement."
At the start of the bid, Budapest 2024 claimed to have 93 per cent cross-party support, but that wore away in recent months.
Furjes said: "Unfortunately, the full support we had previously enjoyed fractured earlier this month when mainstream opposition parties u-turned on their backing for the bid in order to join the Momentum campaign. We have always made it clear that cross-party political support was a crucial condition for a viable bid."
The IOC noted that Budapest's candidature "was overtaken by local politics."
The host city vote is 13 September.