London: A London bid for the 2012 Olympics would be “doomed to fail” without the full backing of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government, according to IOC president Jacques Rogge.
Rogge told London’s Evening Standard newspaper that the British capital would be a “front-runner” if it entered the race for the Games.
London mayor Ken Livingstone and the British Olympic Association have already announced support for a bid. The government is expected to announce next month whether it endorses the Olympic project.
“I would be very happy to have a well prepared, well organised London bid,” Rogge said in the interview published Monday. “Definitely, London would be a front-runner, given a good technical file. There is no doubt about that. But government backing is a vital determining factor. If there is any feeling of reluctance on behalf of the government, then the bid will be doomed to fail. It is as simple as that.”
Rogge praised Britain as a “cradle of sport” in the 19th and 20th centuries and cited its “very strong and stable political system.”
A financial report issued last month projected the cost of staging the Olympics in London at $ 2.7 billion.
The deadline for submission of bids to the International Olympic Committee is next July. The host city will be selected in 2005.
New York City and Moscow have declared their candidacies. Bids are also expected from either Madrid or Seville in Spain, and one of five German cities. Paris is among other cities considering a bid.
“I think it is very much going to be a battle between Europe and the American continent, specifically the United States,” Rogge said. “I think no European city can take victory for granted.”