Mon, 25 Sep 2023

The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo says the 2024 Olympics is "on budget and on time". She was responding to concerns expressed recently by a senior Olympics official.

"Look at all the previous Olympics and Paralympics around the world, one year before the Games, generally it's stressful and people are saying 'we'll never manage this'. Well, we're ready," mayor Anne Hidalgo told the France Inter radio station on Tuesday.

"We're on budget and we're on time."

During a visit to Paris on Monday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) official Pierre-Olivier Beckers, who is responsable for monitoring the Paris Games, voiced concern about the work needed to balance the budget.

Inflation adjustment

French authorities chipped in another €111 million last December to take into account inflation, taking the overall budget to €4.48 billion.

Delays in signing major sponsorship deals, including a deal with French luxury goods giant LVMH, has also left a major question mark about the finances of the event.

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"There is still plenty of work to do," Beckers told reporters.

A provisional report from the French national auditor, published by Le Monde newspaper on Monday, said that "substantial uncertainties remain, notably for domestic partnerships".

The Games have also become embroiled in a row over ticket pricing, with the high cost of attending many events leading to criticism of organisers amid a cost-of-living crisis in France.

On Tuesday afternoon, around 60 members of the CGT trade union burst into the offices of the Paris Olympics committee to protest against the government's pension reform.

They brandished banners with the message "no pension reform, no Olympics".

Cultural Olympiad underway

In other Olympics news, the so-called 'Cultural Olympiad' of the Games has already begun, with sport centre stage at last weekend's night-time arts festival - "La Nuit Blanche".

The focus this year was the Seine river, the site chosen for the 2024 Olympic Games opening ceremony.

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Some two hundred artworks and performances took place in Paris and cities along the river, including a Wild West themed ping-pong tournament and burlesque Mexican wrestling.

Visitors were also treated to opera singers, whirling dervishes showcasing Sufi dance, and a drone display designed to mimic a starry sky.

Other events will be planned throughout the rest of the year leading up to the opening of the Paris Olympics in July 2024.

(with AFP)

Originally published on RFI

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