Munich 2022 supporters, opposition brace for referendum

Tue Nov 5, 2013 5:23am EST
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By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - Olympic supporters and opponents of the Games in Germany are beating the drum ahead of Sunday's referendum to decide whether the Bavarian capital will officially bid for the 2022 winter Olympics.

Munich, aiming to become the first city to host summer and winter Games, failed in its bid to land the 2018 Olympics which were awarded to South Korea's Pyeongchang.

The city, which staged the 1972 summer Games, and the neighboring Alpine communities are holding a referendum after the German Olympic Committee (DOSB) decided in September to launch another bid.

Olympic leaders in the country have this time tweaked their plans, proposing some events away from the Alpine community of Garmisch-Partenkirchen to reduce opposition from environmental groups.

"It is not as if the International Olympic Committee says to us 'we want you'," double Olympic skiing champion Markus Wasmeier, in favor of the Munich Games as part of the OJa! Munich22 (Oh Yes! Munich22) group, told Reuters Television. "It is the other way around. We want them and that is a major difference."

"There are certain rules and we can think about them however we want to but if we want to have the chance to present ourselves through the IOC to three billion people globally there are certain clauses in the contract."

"Some would say it is an oppressive contract, some say that is how business is done. If we want the Olympics then we have to accept it," said the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics skiing champion.

It is exactly those contractual commitments as well as construction concerns over the impact on the environment and real estate prices that opponents of the Munich bid offer as their arguments against the Games.   Continued...