Budapest city council approves venues for 2024 Olympic bid

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Budapest’s city council on Wednesday approved the list of venues to be included in its bid for the 2024 Olympics.

The project includes the construction of a 60,000-capacity stadium for track and field, a velodrome, a tennis complex with a 10,000-seat main court, as well as temporary facilities downtown for events such as beach volleyball and archery.

The track and field stadium, which would also host the opening and closing ceremonies, would be located just south of the city center, near the Olympic Park to be built on Csepel Island in the Danube River. The park would also hold the tennis complex, a track for BMX racing and the Olympic Village to house up to 17,000 athletes, coaches and others.

A feasibility study published last year estimated development costs for the Olympics at 1.074 trillion forints ($3.7 billion), with net costs after the sale of venues and other revenues calculated at 774 billion forints ($2.7 billion).

Many of the venues are planned to be temporary, while others will be scaled back after the games. Capacity at the track and field stadium would be cut to 15,000.

The Ferenc Puskas Stadium, currently being rebuilt to host games of the 2020 European Championships, would host the Olympic soccer finals.

Several events, including golf, rowing and equestrian, and preliminaries of the basketball, handball and soccer events would be held outside Budapest.

At its session on Wednesday, the council also rejected a proposal by opposition parties to hold a referendum on the bid. The opposition said it was worried about the lack of transparency and the risk of corruption surrounding the Olympic project.

Last week, Hungary’s supreme court rejected a proposed referendum on Budapest’s bid for the 2024 Olympics, but opponents vowed to continue efforts to let voters decide on the project.

Budapest is competing with Los Angeles, Paris and Rome for the 2024 Games. The German port city of Hamburg dropped out of the race after the bid was rejected in a referendum.

Budapest is the only one of the four bid cities that has never hosted an Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee will select the host city in September 2017.

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