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IOC visits Madrid as part of 2020 Olympic bid process

  • Merchandising for the Madrid 2020 bid ( Image: Donperfectodewiki )

While at Santiago Bernabéu, IOC members met the Spanish national football team captain Iker Casillas and were given Real Madrid jerseys with their names on them.
As Spain is currently undergoing severe economic problems at the moment, with 26% unemployment currently and public debt in 2012 at 84% of the country's gross domestic product, the €1.5bn (US$1.9bn, £1.3bn) costs of the Games have been a highly visible aspect of the city's bid process. Security costs are estimated to add another €149m (US$192m, £127m) to organizing costs.

Proponents of the bid including Madrid's mayor Ana Botella believe the Games would provide an economic boost to the city and the country. IOC President Jacques Rogge is also on the record as stating that he does not believe Spanish economic problems will play a part in the IOC's decision-making process. Spanish newspaper El Mundo quoted Rogge saying, "The crisis does not affect it, because substantial facilities have in most cases already been

Local organizers are preparing to cope with protesters trying to draw attention to Spain's labor situation who planned to picket outside the Hotel Eurostars Madrid Tower where IOC members are staying. The planned protest is over cuts to the Municipal Government budget. Protesters did not picket yesterday, which was a holiday in Madrid. Bid organizers and the government feared potential strikes by people working for the public transport system.

Botella explained to the media that protests and work stoppages should not be seen as evidence that Spaniards would not welcome the Games, but rather unhappiness with local economic issues, which Botella said the Games should help fix. Spain's current unemployment level is the highest of any European country and the worst the country has faced since the 1970s. Botella's view is supported by an IOC survey, which found 81% of Spaniards supported Madrid's bid for the Games.
Madrid is one of three cities currently competing for the 2020 Games.

The IOC visited Tokyo, Japan earlier this month and is scheduled to visit Istanbul, Turkey later this month. The host city is to be formally selected at a meeting of the IOC on September 7 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Shortly after that, Rogge is scheduled to step down from his position as IOC President.

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