Madrid ‘satisfied with ‘budget Olympics’ review

The team in charge of Madrid's bid for the 2020 Olympic Games said they were 'very satisfied' with the International Olympic Committee Evaluation Commission's (IOCEC) report on how the Spanish capital's third consecutive bid to host the Games is shaping up.

Madrid 'satisfied with 'budget Olympics' review
Third time lucky? Spanish Crown Prince Felipe (C) at an official dinner with International Olympics Committee officials at the Royal Palace in Madrid in March. File photo: Juanjo Martin/Pool/AFP

Reports from the IOCEC's visit to Madrid and the other two candidate cities, Tokyo and Istanbul, were released on Tuesday and although, marks were not given to each city, the Madrid team believe they are on the right track.

"We are happy and satisfied," Madrid mayor Ana Botella said at a press conference on Tuesday.

"The work of the bid has been seen by the IOCEC in a positive way."

Should Madrid be trying to host the Olympics in 2020? Read The Local's opinion piece here.

The main concern for Madrid's bid is the current state of the Spanish economy which has suffered from a double-dip recession.

However, with the vast majority of the proposed venues for the Games and necessary transport infrastructure in place, the IOCEC stated that a modest budget of €2.37 billion ($3.10 billion, £2.01 billion) is feasible.

"The report recognizes how the bid has improved with respect to the previous ones and the previous investment in infrastructure. It is clear that the investment that remains is perfectly acceptable," added Botella.

One area of concern for the IOCEC was however the extremely low figure of just $19 million attributed to security for the Games.

However, chief executive of the bid Victor Sanchez confirmed that any additional costs to ensure the safety of the Games would be covered by the government.

President of the bid, Alejandro Blanco, meanwhile also played down concerns that Spain's poor record when it came to the fight against doping in sport could damage Madrid's chances.

The decision by the judge in the recently concluded Operation Puerto trial to not release over 200 bags of blood belonging to former clients of the disgraced doctor Eufemiano Fuentes has drawn widespread criticism.

However, Blanco believes the passing of a new anti-doping law by the Spanish parliament earlier this month to bring the national legislation into line with the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) code signals Spain's intent to get tough on doping.

"The IOC have been left completely satisfied with this new law.   

"We cannot judge how clean Spanish sport is on this operation.

"We need to forget the past. The new law starts a new path and it is totally compliant with the WADA code."

The bid teams for each city will make a technical presentation to the 100+ IOC members at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, next week.

A final decision on who will host the Games in eight years time will be made in Buenos Aires on September 7.

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Madrid targets Unesco listing for Prado Museum

Despite being the capital of the country with the third-highest number of Unesco World Heritage Sites, Madrid as yet has none to its name. That could be about to change if the local town hall gets its way.

Madrid targets Unesco listing for Prado Museum
Photo of the Prado Musuem in Madrid: Shutterstock

“The Retiro and Prado site” has been put forward as the remedy to this situation by Popular Party Mayor Ana Botella, who has the support of the city’s other political groupings in this venture.

The area being touted as a Unesco patrimony site comprises a large chunk of central Madrid, stretching from the gardens and boulevards of Retiro Park and the elegant Jerónimos neighbourhood of fine town houses, including the church of the same name, down to the already world-famous Prado Museum and the whole Paseo de Prado avenue from Cibeles to Atocha junctions.

In all, 203 hectares of urban heritage, although the bid also mentions outlying sites as being of special interest as they link up culturally with the Prado-Retiro complex, notably the Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums.

The first step on a path that City Hall officials were quoted by La Razón newspaper as saying would be “long and complicated” is to gain the approval for the bid from the National Patrimony Council in October.

Assuming that hurdle is overcome, the site will then be included on Spain’s Indicative List of Unesco candidate sites for at least a year before experts from the UN’s cultural agency consider its merits.

Ana Botella said in the Retiro on Tuesday that the complex “satisfies the most important Unesco requisite in that it has exceptional universal value”.

Spain already has 44 sites on the Unesco World Heritage List, behind only Italy and China.

Barcelona has two entries on the list. One groups the Modernist architectural works of Antoni Gaudí, while the other features the Palau de la Música auditorium and Sant Pau hospital.