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Madrid bid leader says Spain needs boost

AFP-JIJI

Madrid winning the right to host the 2020 Olympic Summer Games would deliver just the boost that is needed as Spain battles against a grueling recession, the bid leader Alejandro Blanco said in an interview.

The 62-year-old president of the Spanish National Olympic Committee, said in reply to those who query whether Madrid has the financial power to host the games that it was actually a very good reason to give Spain the games for the second time in its history — Barcelona having hosted them successfully in 1992.

“The socioeconomic situation in the country is a very good reason for investing and creating jobs and wealth to get the economy going again,” said Blanco.

“You also have to remember that the global economy has been so unstable that it’s only now that we can see exactly where we are. But what’s going to happen in 2020?”

Blanco, a former judoka who was also president of the Spanish Judo Federation, drew a comparison with some host cities whose economies were stronger than Madrid’s at the time they won the games but who since have suffered serious economic harship.

“Some host cities were in a totally different economic situation when they were awarded the games to when they actually delivered them,” he said.

“To my mind, it’s not how you start that matters so much, but how you end.

“And the fact that Madrid already has about 80 percent of the necessary infrastructures in place — including the airport, ring roads and underground — is a solid guarantee of stability.

“Our investments will be reduced to the minimum. We also have the full support of the Spanish, regional and local governments and will travel the whole way with them hand in hand.”

Blanco, whose Madrid bid is competing against Istanbul and Tokyo — the only one of the cities to have previously hosted the games — said that a Madrid win would be a win for the country as a whole.

“Spain needs the games more than ever,” he said.

“This is a strategic project for the country as a whole, not just the city, and we need joint projects that can bring us together.

“Private enterprise is committed to the bid and sees it as a unique opportunity to breathe new life into the economy.

“The games will attract investors, boost investment, create wealth and promote tourism.”