The Olympic Games in Paris, in 2024, are recorded. And if we celebrated Wednesday night in the French capital, we also celebrated the event in Lima where is the French delegation of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF). Its president, Denis Masseglia, reacts.
What is the atmosphere within your team? Did not the absence of suspense spoil the party?
Denis Masseglia: Not at all. First, because we have been waiting 100 years for this. So it’s first and foremost an immense satisfaction. Then I think that for all the sports lovers, for all those who wanted France to organize the Olympic and Paralympic Games again, it is still something formidable, it is enormissime. And even if there has not been the suspense that prevailed during the last nominations, it is nevertheless something formidable that happens. We know that the Games will be a sporting event, but also a tremendous accelerator of projects. So we will savor today and then get down to work tomorrow.
On three occasions, Paris attempted the coup (1998-2008-2012), three times Paris failed. How do you analyze today the reasons for this success?
I have an explanation that I think is shared by many, namely that this is the first time that we have an application that is initiated by the sports movement. It was developed on the basis of very tangible data. Nearly 200 people were brought together to make a real case, a real argument, which was called the “opportunity study”. And then through this study, it was shown that it could be interesting to candidate knowing effectively that the road would be complicated, difficult, but could be achieved.
I believe that this work served as a unifying element. That’s why in the end we found each one in his place. Leadership was ensured by the sports movement. All political authorities, regardless of the institution, be they the State, the region or the city, were each in their role of unfailing support. which allowed for a unity that was emphasized by all outside observers. This unit, of course, is the one that made us win.
We saw it in Athens, we saw it in London, organizing the Olympics, it is expensive: Paris 2024, it is almost 7 billion euros budget. Compared to the 30 billion euros of Beijing 2008, it is not huge. But is not it taking the risk of having the Games down in 7 years?
First thing, you have to know that the IOC [International Olympic Committee] gives the organizing city of 2024, $ 1.7 billion, so it’s already pretty good and it’s part of the budget, that’s a certainty. In addition, you have virtually acquired ticketing and marketing revenues that make what is called the Games organization fully paid for by all of these recipes.
It remains what is to be constructed. There is both the Olympic Village and the Media Village that will become accommodations later. So this is something that will be “profitable” by selling the apartments in question. Then there is only one sporting equipment to be built which is the aquatic center that we obviously need and which will be one of the elements of the heritage of 2024. So no worries about the budget. The advantage of Paris of 2024 is that 95% of the equipment is already existing or temporary and that infrastructure, whether transport, hotel, airport or other, already exist. We have indeed, and this has enabled us to win, a file that guarantees compliance with the budget estimates.
In the application file, you also insisted on the positive spin-offs to be expected in the French-speaking world and especially in sub-Saharan Africa. How can the Olympic Games serve as a ” driving force ” for Africa?
Firstly, it is also hoped that there will be an opportunity for each of these countries to prepare themselves actively. There are natural links with France. Then many clubs in France will be ready to welcome, to help with the preparation. Therefore, it will be necessary to think now of a much more active form of cooperation that allows the best athletes of the African countries to be able to express themselves. Then the Games are good. For the athletes, obviously, it’s something essential. But if through them, we can make sure that there is more room for sport in society in any country, it is also one of the challenges that must be fixed, is for me the principal one elsewhere.