France bets on crowd funding for Olympic bid

PARIS (AP) Crowd funding could be used to finance a potential Paris bid for the 2024 Olympics.

Because of France's economic struggles, no public money will be spent if the country decides to go ahead with the bid next year, national Olympic committee president Denis Masseglia said on Tuesday.

Instead, a significant part of an expected 80 million euros ($100 million) budget could be secured through a 24-hour telethon next June before the bid is submitted.

''We want to use all energies, from all horizons, from artists to sportsmen,'' Masseglia said at a news conference. ''A well-conceived TV show could be a starting point for the people's mobilization around the bid, even if they don't spend more than five euros each. Such an initiative would also be a strong indicator of the public's support to the bid.''

Speaking at the French Olympic Committee headquarters, where the results of 12 workshops on a possible bid were discussed, Masseglia was unsure about the amount of money a telethon could raise. He said the rest of the budget would come from private subsidies.

Bernard Lapasset, who heads the French Committee for International Sport, said no decision on whether Paris might bid would be taken before January, adding that the outcome of the International Olympic Committee session in Monaco in December will be taken into account. IOC President Thomas Bach is proposing changes to the bidding process as part of his reforms.

''After the IOC session, we'll have a look at all our new opportunities. Only then, we'll start writing our final report,'' Lapasset said. ''We'll make sure our final document will fit with the new arrangements.''

Nothing really concrete emerged from Tuesday's presentation, although Lapasset revealed that a Paris bid would be based on ''five to nine'' main venues.

Lapasset insisted that the project was enjoying state support despite the lack of enthusiasm shown by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

''But the games would help Paris to develop, and this is what Anne Hidalgo wants for the city, too,'' he said.

The next step in the organizers' schedule will be in January, when the results of a feasibility study focusing on financial and technical issues will be submitted to state officials.

''We need to stop chewing over our loss in the race for the 2012 Games,'' said IOC member Tony Estanguet, a former three-time Olympic champion in canoe slalom. ''Losing is part of the game, as long as you are able to bounce back.''

By 2024, it will have been 100 years since France last staged the Summer Olympics in Paris. The French capital was considered the favorite in the bidding for the 2012 Olympics but lost out to London. Paris also made an unsuccessful bid for the 2008 Games.

France decided not to bid for the 2020 Olympics after Annecy was humiliated in the race for the 2018 Winter Games, receiving only seven votes in an election won by Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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