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Paris 2024 rejigs venue plan, signs financial protocol

The organisers of the 2024 summer Olympics in Paris have scaled back construction plans for the Games in response to concerns expressed by the French government’s financial inspectors that they were facing a potential overspend of up to €500m ($616m).

Paris 2024 said that a proposed 15,000-seat aquatics centre next to the Stade de France would now not be built, while the neighbouring media village in Saint-Denis would also have a lower-than-anticipated capacity.

The aquatics competitions will now take place at a temporary 15,000-seat venue, with water polo and diving staged at a smaller 5,000-capacity permanent facility next to the Stade de France. The facilities from the temporary venue will be allocated towards creating three swimming pools in the region after the Games, Paris 2024 said.

In addition, Paris 2024 has also opted to relocate one of the three sports that were due to be staged in Le Bourget, a district of north-east Paris, to a new temporary facility in the centre of the capital.

“The project will allow us to leave Seine-Saint-Denis with eight pools as a result of the Olympic heritage, as opposed to the five originally envisaged, in a department that is considerably lacking in sporting facilities and where only half of the young people know how to swim,” Paris 2024 said. “This strong heritage for the area will be largely supported by the Games budget. In order to make this possible, Paris 2024 has increased its contribution by more than €40m.”

The announcements were made on Thursday as part of a new co-financing protocol for Paris 2024. The overall budget for the Games is €6.8bn ($8.3bn).