Hungary’s government: Olympic bid is over, new Puskás stadium will cost 620 million euros
Budapest, February 23 (MTI) – The government considers Hungary’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics over, government office chief János Lázár told a government press briefing on Thursday, citing a “lack of national unity” on the issue.
Lázár noted the government on Wednesday proposed to the metropolitan council and the Hungarian Olympic Committee the withdrawal of Budapest’s Olympic bid. “Without national unity, no country would be able to organise the Olympics,” he said, adding that the Socialist Party had withdrawn support for Hungary’s bid to host the Games. It would be unviable if the government and its parties were the only forces to back the bid, Lázár said.
A new political group called Momentum mounted a campaign to collect signatures with a view to securing a referendum on whether Budapest should host the Games. According to reports, it has collected around 266,000 signatures, twice the number necessary to trigger a plebiscite.
Lázár said if a referendum were to go ahead then the resulting campaign and related disputes would in themselves harm Hungary, and it is likely those opposing the Games in Hungary would be in the majority in a plebiscite.
He said the government commissioner in charge of the bid would account for all of the funds that had been spent on the bid so far and the state secretary in charge of sports will report on the status of all related investments.
Speaking about other sports-related matter, Lázár said the Dagály swimming complex which is to host the 2017 world aquatics championships had been completed within the budget of 48 billion forints and the government had approved construction of the new Puskás stadium, setting aside 190 billion forints (EUR 620m) for the purpose.