April 16, 2015

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) IOC President Thomas Bach praised Paris as an ''exemplary'' potential candidate to host the 2024 Olympics after meeting with French President Francois Hollande on Thursday.

Speaking alongside Hollande at the Olympic Museum, Bach said he received ''very, very encouraging'' information about the expected bid.

''If this candidature continues in this spirit, you have everything in hand to enter the candidature phase in full confidence,'' Bach said in French.

Hollande described the 2024 Olympics as ''a great opportunity for the whole of France.''

Paris, which hosted the 1924 Olympics, is not yet a formal applicant, but a bid was endorsed Monday by the city council.

Boston, Hamburg and Rome are already declared bidders in the 2024 contest.

Earlier Thursday, Bach met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and discussed a possible bid by Budapest.

The IOC has set a Sept. 15 deadline for applications and will choose the host in 2017.

Hollande's two-day state visit to Switzerland was already scheduled, but served to build momentum from the Paris city authority's decision.

''One of the reasons also for this meeting was to know exactly all the rules of this competition to respect,'' the French head of state said.

Bach praised France as having ''very much to offer the OIympic movement.''

''What we heard and learned today is that this candidature is going to put a lot of importance on a legacy'' for the capital city and the country, he said.

Bach said Paris' plans seemed in tune with the themes of his ''Olympic Agenda 2020'' program to make the games more affordable and sustainable.

The French bid's infrastructure budget has been estimated at 3 billion euros ($4.5 billion), with operational costs of 3.2 billion euros ($4.8 billion).

Hollande's government is expected to give the final go-ahead by the end of June.

Paris has failed with bids for the 1992, 2008 and 2012 Summer Games. Its last defeat came despite being strongly favored until the final vote, which was won by London.

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