German officials have lamented the decision by the International Olympic Committee to make Brisbane’s bid their preferred partner for the 2032 Games. The IOC decision in favour of the Australian bid on Wednesday has all but ruled out the chances of others, including Germany’s Rhine-Ruhr area, to land the Games.
Dagmar Freitag, chair of the parliamentary sports commission of Germany’s lower house, the Bundestag, said the decision was not a surprise. She also criticised the new bidding process by the IOC which now talks with interested cities or regions instead of having them go through a costly bid process.
“The new selection system, praised by IOC president Thomas Bach as ‘more cost-effective and apolitical, and also preventing any unacceptable influence’ can hardly be surpassed in terms of non-transparency,” Freitag said.
Athletes Germany spokesman Max Hartung struck a similar note, saying: “If the process is incomprehensible, then distrust and suspicion of arbitrary decisions arise.”
German athletics federation chief Jurgen Kessing spoke of “a painful setback” after the latest Olympic failure, with Munich, Berlin and Leipzig snubbed in the past, and referendums ending bids from Hamburg and Munich.
“I think we have to ask ourselves how we can get into pole position with possible future Olympic bids,” he said.
Alfons Hormann, president of the German Olympic Sports Confederation DOSB, named it “surprising” that the IOC set the stage four years earlier than it normally does with Olympic hosts, while Freitag lamented that “the DOSB is not visible on an international level”.
The initiators of the Rhine-Ruhr bid plan to continue their efforts to bring the Olympics back to Germany while a spokesman for the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia also said they would continue to explore a bid for a sustainable Games.
For Brisbane’s bid, there are still some administrative hoops to jump through before potentially being confirmed as the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics host city by July, but AOC president John Coates, who is also the IOC vice-president, is confident of getting the final vote over the line.
“The IOC now deal exclusively with us while we complete the questionnaire,” he said. “The other cities who have shown interest have been parked … it’s significant recognition. It will go to a vote and we’ve got to get 50% plus one – I’ll be able to get those numbers.”
Coates claims a Brisbane Games will be cost neutral, with the IOC and sponsorship deals set to cover the estimated $4.5bn in operational costs. A feasibility study this month proposed a 50,000-capacity Brisbane Olympic Stadium for ceremonies and athletics, as well as a 15,000-seat Brisbane Indoor Sports Centre to host basketball and a 15,000-seat Brisbane Arena for swimming and water polo as the three major wish list items.
These sports could be hosted at existing venues though and organisers are conscious of avoiding “white elephants” seen in countries like Brazil and Greece, once an Olympics has been held.
The Gold Coast, fresh from staging the Commonwealth Games in 2018, and Sunshine Coast would also act as event and village hubs, while football games could be held in stadiums across regional Queensland as well as at the Sydney Football Stadium and Melbourne’s AAMI Park.
General city infrastructure upgrades are also underway or expected and would be necessary anyway to cope with the region’s expected growth in the next 11 years. If negotiations conclude successfully, Brisbane would be the third Australian city to host the Games after Melbourne had the honour in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.