Olympic Games: Sydney to cost twice bid budget

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The Independent Online
SYDNEY's joy at winning the right to stage the Olympics has been tempered by a sharp dose of economic reality: costs are expected to run almost twice as high as originally estimated.

John Fahey, the Prime Minister of New South Wales, disclosed yesterday that the funds required to put on the 2000 Games will be at least pounds 1.3bn, all but double the budget quoted to the International Olympic Committee, prompting allegations by opposition politicians that Fahey had misled the city. 'The community of NSW will be reeling,' Bob Carr, the leader of the opposition Labour party, said.

Those behind the Manchester counter-bid may be less than impressed to learn that Sydney's bid failed to take into account the cost of building an Olympic village - at Homebush Bay in the western part of the city, to be funded by the private sector - or of providing the requisite facilities.

Carr demanded a detailed budget, outlining how the Games would break even. 'We must ensure Sydney avoids the enormous debt other Olympic cities like Barcelona have been saddled with.'