German officials pick Hamburg to bid for 2024 Olympics
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) German Olympic officials selected Hamburg over Berlin on Monday to bid for the 2024 Olympics, adding a third international contender to what is shaping up as a high-profile field.
The 10-member board of Germany's national Olympic committee announced its recommendation after a day of deliberations.
The decision is expected to be ratified Saturday at the committee's general assembly. It also has to pass a referendum expected to be held later this year in Hamburg, a port city in northern Germany.
A recent poll commissioned by the committee had 64 percent of Hamburg residents backing an Olympic bid, while only 55 percent of citizens of the capital supported a candidacy.
Opponents of the Hamburg bid already have announced plans to campaign against the Olympics.
Both cities presented their case over the weekend and the Olympic committee consulted on Monday with representatives from sports, politics, industry and other groups.
''Both cities presented excellent concepts,'' committee president Alfons Hoermann said in announcing the decision. ''Hamburg has a fascinating and compact concept that fits excellently into the IOC reform process.''
Only seven members of the board took part in the vote and Hoermann indicated the decision was not unanimous, without giving the breakdown. Hoermann said he abstained from voting.
Of the 33 German sports federation, 18 favored Hamburg, while 11 supported Berlin, with four having no preference, Hoermann said.
Hamburg will need to build more facilities than the capital, which hosted the 1936 Olympics.
Boston and Rome have already announced bids for the 2024 Games. Paris is also expected to join the field soon. Other possible contenders include Baku, Azerbaijan; Budapest, Hungary; and Istanbul, Turkey.
The deadline for submission of bids to the International Olympic Committee is Sept. 15. The host city will be selected in 2017.
Germany has not staged an Olympics since the 1972 Summer Games in Munich. Munich failed in a bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics and dropped a planned bid for the 2022 Winter Games after it was rejected in a referendum.
German soccer officials also want to bid for the 2024 European Championship. It is unlikely Germany would be awarded both the Olympics and the soccer tournament.
Hamburg's Olympic plans call for the games to be located centrally in the harbor of the city, which has a population of about 1.7 million.
Most of the events would he held within a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius.
Hamburg, the biggest city in northern Germany, is famous for its harbor on the River Elbe and its raucous nightlife in the Reeperbahn district. A former Hanseatic League city, it is northern Germany's commercial and cultural center.
It is also home to the Hamburger SV club in the Bundesliga and the popular St. Pauli second-division team.