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Plans take shape for German 2032 Olympics bid

The Rhein Ruhr City 2032 project to return the summer Olympic Games to Germany has taken further shape, with the city of Bochum added to a new bid masterplan.

Germany returned to the bidding circle for the Olympic Games in July after North-Rhine Westphalia outlined an ambitious plan to host the 2032 event across 13 cities in the state. Under the Rhein Ruhr City 2032 concept, more than 80 per cent of the venues needed are already in place. Sports have been divided across the cities of Aachen, Bonn, Dortmund, Duisburg, Dusseldorf, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Cologne, Krefeld, Leverkusen, Monchengladbach, Oberhausen and Recklinghausen, with Bochum now lined up to stage football matches.

A 180-page concept paper was unveiled yesterday (Wednesday) with detailed profiles of the proposed competition venues. Among the plans, it has been outlined that the Veltins Arena, home stadium of Bundesliga football club Schalke 04, could be adapted into a 45,000-seat venue for swimming competitions.

Michael Mronz, organiser of the project, said Rhein Ruhr City 2032 could call on 24 large sports facilities, five stadia with a capacity of more than 45,000, 115,000 hotel beds and a capacity for sporting events of currently 640,000 spectators. He added that this is already far above the capacity of the last summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“The Games must be sustainable and down to earth, just as our country is,” Armin Laschet, Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia, said, according to the Westfälische Rundschau newspaper. Laschet added that the 2032 Games presents a unique opportunity for the region to present itself as a “hospitable and cosmopolitan sports country”.

However, both Laschet and Mronz conceded that the project would need to go to a referendum. This has not yet been discussed, but a referendum has spelled the end for Germany’s last two Olympic bids.

In November 2015, Hamburg’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics collapsed after the city’s population voted against the project to secure the Games. Hamburg, which was selected to represent the German bid ahead of Berlin by the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), was planning to spend about €7.4bn ($9.06bn) on hosting the Games.

The country has not staged a summer or winter Olympics since Munich hosted the Games in 1972, and the same city’s population voted against a bid for the 2022 winter Games in 2013. The 2032 Games is the next edition of the summer Olympics that would become available to bidders after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last year agreed on a plan that will see the 2024 and 2028 Games staged in Los Angeles and Paris.