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Hamburg pulls out of 2024 Olympic Games bidding after shock referendum defeat

By Tom Walker    30 Nov 2015
An early rendering of the possible Olympic layout in Hamburg

The City of Hamburg has withdrawn its bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games, after a referendum of city residents returned a 52 per cent 'no' vote for the plans.

Hamburg officials admitted the result was a shock, but confirmed that there would be no efforts to resuscitate the bid.

"We expected a different result," said Nikolas Hill, CEO of the bid. "But the result is clear and we have to accept it. There’ll be no discussion or rethinking it. A 'no' is what people want."

The german city was one of five remaining candidates left in the running, alongside Rome, Paris, Budapest and Los Angeles.

Alfons Hörmann, president of the German Olympic Association (DOSB), said: “The result is obviously disappointing for all of us, but it is a democratic decision and has to be accepted.

"The majority has spoken and they do not want to Games. It was always our intention that there wouldn’t be a bid if the majority would be against it.

“We want to thank all those who voted “yes” and we regret that we won’t be able to bring the Games to Hamburg."

It is believed that recent revelations regarding the German football association (DFB) – over an alleged slush fund used to get the 2006 World Cup to the country – had done no favours to the 2024 bid.

Hamburg’s withdrawal will be a cause of concern for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which in recent years has seen the lure to host the Olympic Games diminish among developed nations.

Four of the six bid cities dropped out midway through the campaign for the 2022 winter Games, leaving just Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Beijing to contest the bid.

The rejection will also bring into question the success if IOC’s wide-ranging reforms – entitled Agenda 2020 and published only last year – which were aimed at making bidding for the Games more attractive to host cities after the string of withdrawals in recent years.

The IOC is not the only major events organisation to struggle with attracting bidders to its games. Earlier this year, the Commonwealth Games Federation appointed Durban, South Africa as the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games – the only city to have bid for the event.

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