Stadium funding crisis cuts ground away from New York's 2012 hopes

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The Independent Online

In a matter of hours on Monday, New York City slipped from being a realistic contender for hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics to a long shot after a New York state panel denied essential funding for a new US$2bn [£1.1bn] stadium on Manhattan's West Side, the centrepiece of the city's bid.

In a matter of hours on Monday, New York City slipped from being a realistic contender for hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics to a long shot after a New York state panel denied essential funding for a new US$2bn [£1.1bn] stadium on Manhattan's West Side, the centrepiece of the city's bid.

The day had begun with officials boasting about the city's chances of landing the Games, as the International Olympic Committee issued a report evaluating each bid, giving Paris, London, Madrid and New York positive ratings.

But later in the day, when members of the state Public Authorities Control Board indicated that they would not approve the US$300m (£169m) in funding for the stadium, a clearly disappointed mayor Michael Bloomberg acknowledged New York's fading hopes.

"We would be very unlikely to be selected, without an Olympic stadium guaranteed, considering our competition," Bloomberg said. When asked whether he would request ask the US Olympic Committee to remove New York from consideration for the IOC's decision next month in Singapore, Bloomberg said he would discuss the matter with USOC officials. It is considered unlikely, however, in part because quitting could harm US chances of hosting future Games.

The stadium plan has provoked fierce debate from the start. Supporters say it will create jobs, stimulate economic activity and revive a long-ignored part of the West Side. Opponents, including the owner of nearby Madison Square Garden, question the use of any public money for the project, as well as the potential environmental and infrastructure problems.

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