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International sporting events/FIFA

Published on July 2, 2015
Interview given by M. Patrick Kanner, Minister for Urban Affairs, Youth and Sport, to Le Parisien (excerpts)

Paris, July 1, 2015

EURO 2016

Q. – With less than a year to go until Euro 2016, is France ready?

THE MINISTER – For our country to host the third-largest sporting event after the Olympic Games and the football World Cup is an opportunity. Euro [2016] is often presented as being costly – it’s true that €2 billion had to be invested for the stadiums – but it’s money well invested. For example, 20,000 construction jobs have been protected. The turnover of the competition should be around €1.5 billion.

Q. – Is this a genuinely popular event?

THE MINISTER – Euro 2016 isn’t only a sporting event limited to 10 stadiums. The whole country must be spurred into action; this belongs to the whole of France. Sport is an activity that brings people together and transcends borders and bridges divides. Through Euro 2016, we’ve created Opération Tous Prêts [Operation Everyone Ready], so that clubs launch women’s football projects and health projects, the most innovative of which will be rewarded with 20,000 tickets.

Q. – Haven’t the recent scandals at FIFA tarnished football’s image too much?

THE MINISTER – What’s happened, and what’s going to continue to happen, isn’t good for sport. I hope Sepp Blatter’s announced resignation will allow things to calm down. Sport is suffering from two evils: corruption and doping.
We must have zero tolerance for both of them. FIFA is in turmoil, but UEFA is well run by a competent man. I recently met M. Jacques Lambert, the boss of Euro 2016 SAS, who is working transparently. Everything is under control.

Q. – Including in terms of security?

THE MINISTER – Security is a primordial responsibility of the state; we must rise to the occasion. You don’t welcome more than a million foreign supporters without ensuring the security they have a right to expect. Work is being done at the Interior Ministry to assess the cost of security; it will amount to several million euros; it will be the state’s contribution to the proper functioning of Euro [2016]. (…)


Q. – France is also going to organize FIBA EuroBasket 2017, the Men’s Handball World Championship in 2017, the football Women’s World Cup in 2019, etc. Economically speaking, can it afford all this?

THE MINISTER – Yes. We have the infrastructure, the expertise and large French and foreign companies to support us. The 2007 Rugby World Cup and the World Equestrian Games in 2014 made a profit. It’s possible to organize sporting events and tend towards financial equilibrium.


Q. – When M. Bernard Lapasset, head of the 2024 Olympic Games bid, announces a budget of €6.2 billion, do you think it’s feasible?

THE MINISTER – Completely. I’m sure we won’t overstretch ourselves. We have the infrastructure; we’re lacking the aquatic centre we need, and the Olympic village, which will be convertible into 4,000 homes, led by the private sector. We need unifying events in this country. I very much believe in this bid, not because I’m French but because I think it fulfils the International Olympic Committee’s criteria.

Q. – The bid will cost €60 million; what will the state’s share be?

THE MINISTER – €60 million over two years to provide for the lobbying, the content and the permanent team may seem a lot of money, but that’s the rate. €30 million will be covered by sport and its private partners, and the other half by public partners. The state has planned to invest €10 million; I have reason to believe the Ile-de-France region and the City of Paris will each put in the same sum. Public enthusiasm is tremendous: the tweet announcing the bid was seen 148 million times worldwide. Between now and the IOC’s decision in 2017, the whole nation will get moving./.

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