ROME (AP) Europe's Olympic association scolded Hungary on Tuesday for claiming it has secured the backing of 16 European countries for Budapest's bid for the 2024 Games.
The Hungarian Olympic Committee said Monday that Budapest had received support from the national Olympic bodies from central and southern Europe. A resolution, proposed by the head of Croatia's Olympic committee, was approved by the 16 countries during last week's European Olympic Committees general assembly in Prague, the Hungarians said.
Budapest is among four European cities bidding for the games, along with Rome, Paris and Hamburg, Germany. Los Angeles is the fifth candidate city in the race.
The EOC contested the Hungarian statement Tuesday, saying the Olympic committees of central and southern Europe are not an officially recognized organization within the European umbrella body.
The EOC also pointed out that the International Olympic Committee selects host cities by secret ballot and that members are not permitted to publicly state in advance how they will vote.
''It is clear that IOC members who could be associated with this statement were not consulted in advance of the announcement being made,'' the EOC said. ''Therefore, it is not appropriate to imply that IOC members from the region will follow the guidance from the statement.''
The IOC will vote on the host city in September 2017. Hungary has never hosted the Olympics.
''The EOC urges all member nations to respect the IOC guidelines for the process in the months ahead,'' the European group said. ''In this way, the IOC can fairly elect the best possible host city.''
In Monday's statement, Hungary listed the backing of Olympic committees from Albania, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey.
The Hungarians said the 16 countries ''affirmed their collective conviction that Budapest was capable of hosting the Summer Olympic Games in 2024.''
''They also noted that the city's location at the heart of the European central and southern regions made it the natural choice for the NOCs of these countries,'' it added.