Three cities hoping to host 2020 Olympics await their fate

Last Updated: 07/09/13 8:17pm

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Tokyo: One of the three contenders to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Tokyo: One of the three contenders to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo are going head-to-head for the right to host the 2020 Olympic Games. Sky Sports reporter Orla Chennaoui assesses the rival bids ahead of tonight's vote in Buenos Aires.

When it comes to voting on a prospective Olympic host city, the International Olympic Committee delegates always have to weigh up the myriad of pros and cons.

Rarely, one would imagine, would the weight of the cons be so potentially significant.

"Only a fool would bet on the outcome. So I have. And I'll probably lose along with two of the contesting bids."
Orla

Faced with the prospect, however real, of nuclear fallout, political unrest or near national bankruptcy, which would you prefer?

Over the last few days, the pendulum of preference has swung between Tokyo and Madrid.

The Japanese bid had been seen as the favourite until contaminated water was found to be leaking from the Fukushima nuclear plant, 250kms north of the capital.

While the government has pledged some £304 million to contain the problem, and assures that the situation will be well under control in seven years time, as PR blows go, nuclear radiation is right up there.

Will Tokyo get the nod?

The image the Tokyo team have been pushing forward instead, is one of a financially and politically safe option.

Canny, considering the opposition and their particular problems.

Given the economic downturn in Spain, the Madrid delegation in Buenos Aries have been at pains to tell anyone who will listen that 80% of their venues are already built, thus negating the impact of any further financial woes. However, building the venues is only part of the drain on the Olympic purse. The organisers then need to entice sponsors to raise the funds to stage the Games.

The London team were applauded for doing remarkably well in that endeavour during an economic downturn, the Madrid delegation will have to convince that they can do the same. That is, of course, if the IOC even want to bring the Games back to Europe so soon after London 2012.

Which brings us to Istanbul and the prospect of staging the Games in a largely Muslim country for the first time. The IOC likes to roll its four yearly juggernaut into new territories, expanding the Olympic family, and widening the market appeal. On this level, Istanbul is a veritable Turkish delight.

However, the problem with this new geographical territory is precisely that, geography.

Sharing borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran possibly shouldn't matter when Istanbul is tucked right into the other corner of the country, but it would be surprising if it didn't. Then, there were the riots on the streets of Istanbul and Ankara just a few months ago. The combination of armed police, tear gas and water cannons must surely rank fairly highly on that spectrum of PR problems.

Each of these potential pitfalls will be balanced against the many positives each of the bidding cities has to offer.

As with every host city vote, only a fool would bet on the outcome. So I have. And I'll probably lose along with two of the contesting bids.

The decision will be made at 9pm on Saturday night.

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