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Safe Euros bolsters Paris 2024 bid: Hollande

By Matt Slater

French President Francois Hollande believes the experience of hosting a secure Euro 2016 will help persuade Olympic bosses that Paris can stage a safe Games in 2024.

Hollande is in Rio to lobby for the French capital's Olympic bid, with Budapest, Los Angeles and Rome providing the competition.

The frontrunners are Los Angeles and Paris but a spate of terror attacks in France is thought to have hurt the Paris bid.

"Every city, region and country is threatened by terrorism -nobody should believe they are completely safe," said Hollande.

"We have to fight against it and by 2024 I hope we've won, but we have learned to defend ourselves during major events - that's what happened at Euro 2016.

"They lasted for over a month and we didn't have a single attack. We think we are in a better position to host a major event now, and if I could give any advice to a country bidding to host something it would be that you need to ensure security."

Hollande was the star turn at a well-attended press conference but looked slightly rattled when pressed on the appalling attacks that have hit his country.

He said the recent attacks in Nice and Rouen were "part of life", not connected to a major event, and to deprive Paris of an Olympics because of such fears would send a bad message. The 61-year-old also denied suggestions that France could not afford the Games, saying the economy was improving and Paris 2024 would help drive growth.

Joining him on the stage were co-chairman Tony Estanguet, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and the French team's Rio 2016 flag bearer Teddy Riner.

Hidalgo sold the "City of Light's" charms, while Riner stressed it would be "led, designed and planned by athletes".

The final choice will be made at the 130th IOC session in Peru in September 2017.

Belfast Telegraph


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