Budapest Olympic Bid Adjusts Masterplan to Slash Costs

(ATR) Balázs Furjes tells ATR that IOC advice has resulted in a change to the 2024 Olympic masterplan set to save “tens of millions” of dollars.

(ATR) Bid leader Balázs Furjes tells Around the Rings that IOC advice has resulted in a change to the 2024 Olympic masterplan set to save "tens of millions" of dollars.

In an exclusive interview with ATR Thursday, Fürjes revealed that the bid has scrapped plans to build a new IBC and MPC for the Games in favor of using a temporary set-up in the Budapest Exhibition Centre.

Furjes said the relocation "definitely adds to sustainability and legacy" and would save "tens of millions of dollars for sure".

He said one indoor Olympic sport is set to move to the Western Railway Station (Nyugati Pályaudvar), an architectural landmark built in 1877, following talks with the international federation – to "provide showcasing opportunities".

The four candidate cities vying to secure the 2024 Olympics – Los Angeles, Paris and Rome are the others – have held weekly formal and informal discussions with IOC officials, including a video conference call earlier this month.

Furjes said the "upgrading and fine-tuning" to the Budapest bid masterplan, which is set to be fully revealed on the sidelines of the Rio Games, makes more extensive use of non-sports facilities and temporary venues. He applauded the IOC for helping the bid to improve its compact plan for the Games.

"I cannot overemphasize the dialogue nature of the bidding process the IOC has established," he told ATR.

IOC recommendations were helping to "strengthen the athlete and spectator experience. We want to showcase the city and put Olympic events in flagship areas and buildings and that can be strengthened as well".

Budapest 2024 got a lift last week when the Hungarian Parliament voted overwhelmingly to pass an Olympic law to provide government guarantees during phase two of the 2024 bidding process. It also established the structure for an Olympic delivery authority to allow a smooth transition from bid to Games delivery if Budapest wins the IOC vote in September 2017.

Furjes said phased delivery was a critical issue with the Games plan, "safe, on time minimum risk delivery is the main driving force behind the masterplan".

Construction of some Olympic venues is progressing. They are being built regardless of whether the city secures hosting rights. The Puskas Ferenc stadium is currently being demolished to make way for development of a new 68,000-capacity venue to host games of the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship and 2024 Olympic football.

The aquatics centre hosting the 2017 FINA world championships will be completed by the end of this year.

FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu inspected work on the 15,000-seat venue on Monday. Asked about Marculescu’s assessment, Furjes said: "One word ‘unbelievable’."

After Hungary’s unexpected and thrilling 3-3 draw with Portugal last night, putting the team through to the last 16 of the European Championship, Furjes said he hoped the "pure joy" of people celebrating on the streets of Budapest last night could be harnessed to enhance the city’s Olympic campaign.

"The Hungary national team re-entered the European Championship after 44 years and is bringing new vitality to the international world of soccer and Euro 2016. That’s how we would like to bring Budapest’s new vitality to re-energize the Olympic Movement," he said.

Olympic Day activities in Budapest began with a night run Wednesday involving thousands of people, young and old, running with torches on the banks of the Danube.

Today, the public transport system of Budapest was "turned into Olympic mode". The main stations of the tram system have been named after Hungarian Olympic heroes, with passengers hearing announcements about the medalists down the years.

Next stop for the four 2024 Olympic bids is some promotion within IOC rules on the sidelines of the Rio Olympics.

Construction is currently under way on Hungary House in Rio. It will be the first time in Olympic history that the country’s NOC has opened a hospitality venue for the Games.

Reported by Mark Bisson

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