The budget for the 2024 Olympics will “be affected by inflation”, underlines Tony Estanguet

“Our goal is to keep budget control as we have been doing since day one”reacted Monday, July 25 on franceinfo Tony Estanguet, president of the organizing committee of the 2024 Olympics, while Emmanuel Macron organized in the morning a “site meeting” with a dozen ministers, including those of Sports and the Interior.

franceinfo: Why this slogan, unveiled today: “Open the Games wide”?

Tony Estanguet: This echoes the ambition to hold the opening ceremony for the first time in the city center, on the Seine. To move the Games outside the stadiums: at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, at the Grand Palais, at the Invalides. And then, it also means opening the Games wide to the challenges of our society. By reducing carbon emissions, for example: we want to halve the carbon footprint of the Games compared to past editions. Or by taking up the challenge of parity: for the first time in the history of the Games, there will be the same number of athletes, men and women at the start of the competitions.

One of the solutions mentioned by the Élysée to compensate for the increase in expenses linked to inflation is to touch the “contingency reserve” [une enveloppe de secours de 315 millions d’euros prévus dans le budget]. Isn’t that a bit risky?

Our objective is to maintain budgetary control, as we have done since day one. The budget for the Games is 4 billion euros, 98% financed by private money. We had actually planned 315 million reserve for contingencies. We are now entering the last two years of preparation. Above all, this reserve must not be consumed in a single year, but it is intended to be spent and used for the success of the Games. This is therefore one of the options that will be discussed in the coming months.

Between the Covid and the international crisis, we have not been spared. Yes, there will be inflation. And yes: Paris 2024 will be affected by this inflation, like all companies in France. It’s up to us to find cost-saving solutions or seek partners to be able to increase the budget a little more.

Regarding security, the discussions this morning did not call into question the opening ceremonies on the Seine and at the Concorde. Is it a relief for you?

I was very calm on this subject because safety has been a priority since the first day for Paris 2024. When we decided to organize this opening ceremony on the Seine, it was after having debated for many months on these security issues. So, indeed, the President of the Republic and the Minister of the Interior have reaffirmed their total support for this concept. Here, we are in an operational phase: we are setting up exceptional security measures for an exceptional event. We are going to be watched by more than a billion people during this ceremony, so we want France to shine. To see a great moment of celebration, of national pride.

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