Calls from three opposition parties for a referendum on the Budapest 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid has been rejected by the City Council, which also approved the list of venues should the Hungarian capital be awarded the Games.
A total of 21 Council members voted in favour of the latest venue proposals, with just one vote against and nine abstentions.
Seven clusters and five standalone venues would be in the capital city itself, which will include a brand new 60,000-capacity athletics stadium, as well as a velodrome and a tennis complex with a 10,000-seat main court. The Ferenc Puskas Stadium – formerly known as the People’s Stadium – which is currently being rebuilt to host games during the Euro 2020 Football Championships, would host the Games’ football finals. (The Stadium is the most important and largest sports institution of Hungary. It is the home of the Hungarian national football team, and many football clubs hold their most important international matches here.)
The majority of the remaining venues would be temporary, with sailing and open water swimming to be held on Lake Balaton (135km to the south-west of Budapest), golf would take place near to Lake Balaton (the largest lake in Central Europe), and the rowing and equestrian events would all take place outside Budapest, along with the preliminaries of the basketball, handball and football competitions.
It was also confirmed that the athletics venue would be redeveloped to a 15,000-capacity stadium in legacy mode.
A feasibility study conducted last year, predicted the development work to cost HUF Ft1.1 trillion ($3.7 billion/£5.3 billion/€4.9 billion).
Budapest is one of four cities competing for the Games, along with Los Angeles, Paris and Rome. (Hamburg having withdrawn from the race after a failed referendum back in November 2015).
A final decision on the winning bid for the 2024 Olympics is expected at the 2017 International Olympic Committee Session in Lima.
Image: Ferenc Puskas Stadium