from 5 to 8.8 billion… the vagueness intensifies – L’Express

Oudea Castera in a zone of turbulence – LExpress

8.8 billion euros here, 5 billion there… As the launch of the Paris Olympic Games approaches, many figures are circulating, mixing the total cost of the Olympics with the State’s bill. The amounts accumulate, as do the attempts at justification. And yet, the vagueness is intensifying around the amount actually spent.

In front of the deputies, this Tuesday, April 2, the Minister of Sports and the Olympic Games, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, assured that there was “no hidden cost or budgetary drift”. “These Olympics are the least expensive since Sydney”, in 2000, she welcomes. For now, the executive is putting forward a total bill of 8.8 billion euros, while the budget initially planned amounted to 6.3 billion.

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An initial envelope of 4.4 billion euros is supported by the organizing committee and is made up of ticketing revenue, the IOC contribution and sponsor revenue. On his website, Paris 2024 affirms that the budget for organizing the Olympic Games is “funded almost entirely (96%) by private revenue”. A way of reassuring public opinion, while the Olympic Games were accused of “squandering public money” in an intellectual column published in The world from September 2020.

2.44 billion euros in public investments

The only thing is: this justification is only valid if we take into consideration only one of the two aspects of the organization of the Olympic Games. Historically, the Games operate with two distinct budgets. One concerns the Olympic Organizing Committee (Cojop). The other, the Olympic works delivery company (Solideo).

4.4 billion euros are officially allocated to infrastructure. According to the latest financial roadmap dated July 19, 2023 that The Express was able to consult, we can read that the State added almost 1.3 billion euros to Solideo’s accounts. Added to this are sums spent by local authorities – the Paris City Hall, the Île-de-France Region, the city of Marseille (where the sailing events take place)…

Thus, in documents published with the finance bill for 2024, consulted by The world, the government is counting on 2.44 billion euros in public investments linked to hosting the Olympics (including 1.3 billion for the State and 260 million for the city of Paris). It also establishes a list of “other categories of expenditure”, the addition of which amounts to more than 270 million euros.

An invoice impossible to define

With these 2.7 billion in public money, we seem to be getting closer to the bill mentioned by the president of the Court of Auditors, Pierre Moscovici, in January. On that date, he was betting on a total of 3 billion euros. Problem, on March 26, Pierre Moscovici seemed to review his copy. “These Games should cost between 3, 4, 5 billion, we will see,” he said, at the microphone of France Inter. And to continue: “We do not yet know the cost of the Olympics. The Court of Auditors will audit it” at the end of the event.

Indeed, the precise public bill is impossible to define as it stands because all the costs are not known. It is necessary, among other things, to add the bonuses of 1,900 euros given to police officers or 1,500 euros for public officials, which could increase the public bill by 500 million euros.

READ ALSO: Paris 2024, the secret history of the Games: our great investigation

Furthermore, two expenditure items – and not the least – do not appear in the documents published by the executive: security and health. All security expenses outside sports venues, and in particular during the opening ceremony, will in fact be covered by the State.

At the National Assembly, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra assured that “fine evaluation work” was underway, ministry by ministry, with regard to state spending. To your calculators.