Two years from the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the map of venues is still changing. The shooting events will leave Seine-Saint-Denis which will host the qualifying phases of the boxing tournament in exchange, while basketball has not yet officially found its base.
After losing swimming in 2020, one of the major disciplines of the Olympic Games, which will not take place in Saint-Denis but in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine), the poorest department in France to which has been promised an Olympic legacy, sees once again the locations change.
If all goes well, the revised map will be presented to the board of directors of the organizing committee (Cojo) on July 12. Everything is not yet fixed, in particular the standard exchange between hand and basketball, the latter would go to Lille for the qualifying phases.
On this file, which had seen French basketball players playing in the NBA step up and reject the Parc des Expos at Porte de Versailles, discussions between the Cojo, the international basketball federation and the IOC (international Olympic committee) are bitter. Ultimately, the IOC “will decide”, explained the organizing committee on Tuesday, June 21.
On the Seine-Saint-Denis side, after negotiations carried out for several weeks, the organizing committee and the department formalized the first changes on Tuesday: shooting leaves and boxing arrives in the department.
If their respective landings are not yet validated, it is the city of Châteauroux (Indre) which holds the rope for shooting and that of Villepinte (Seine-Saint-Denis) for boxing, the boxing finals remaining at Roland- Garros.
Boxing DNA of 93
According to the president of the department, Stéphane Troussel (PS), this arbitration allows his territory to “pull out of the game”, with boxing which “sticks perfectly to the DNA of Seine-Saint-Denis”, and represents a “attractiveness for a young public, with a strong practice in the territory and important athletes”.
The “red line” was for the department not to lose an event, he explained.
“A stronger balance sheet” added the organizing committee for a department where the athletes’ village is located or the Olympic aquatic center (water polo, synchronized swimming and diving events) in Saint-Denis.
Why these changes?
Since this winter, the ground of Essences in La Courneuve, former army ground in the process of being cleared, was no longer suitable, apparently becoming too small to house the shooting events. A thorn in the side for the organizers, who have already retouched the map in the fall of 2020, and for the State anxious not to strip the department.
The president of the Seine-Saint-Denis department council, Stéphane Troussel, at the questure of the Senate, in Paris, on July 17, 2019.
This land will now serve as the starting point for the paramarathon and the cycling event open to the public, said Mr. Troussel. Other concessions obtained: seated volleyball (handisport) and the pentathlon fencing event which will also be in Seine-Saint-Denis.
If the president of the department displays his satisfaction, the fact remains that the whole area around Le Bourget is experiencing many setbacks.
Firstly because several metro lines will not arrive in time for the Olympic Games, then because the work on the media village – which will probably only house part of the media – was briefly halted after a legal recourse.
Budget revision in sight
A stone’s throw away, it is now the ground of Les Essences which loses an Olympic event. Angry, the PCF mayor of La Courneuve, Gilles Poux, believes that his city and the department “must get out of this role of permanent adjustment variable”.
Two years before the 2024 Olympics (July 26-August 11), the State shares the department’s desire that “the card be finalized” at the July board of directors, said the interministerial delegation to the Olympics, responsible for coordinating all the actors.
Because once these changes have been validated, and their positive or negative budgetary consequences, we will have to go back to the calculator and review expenses and revenues.
A report from the Cojo’s audit committee must be submitted at the end of June in order to take stock before a budget review scheduled for the end of the year.
Between inflation and the contracts being signed which will make it possible to match planned prices and actual prices, this budget revision promises to be complex.
In mid-May, the president of the organizing committee, Tony Estanguet explained that “new risks weigh” on the budget. It is currently 4 billion euros, financed by ticketing, an IOC contribution and sponsors.