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Hollande falls out with Paris mayor over 2024 Olympics bid

media French President François Hollande with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo at a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the granting of voting rights to French women Reuters/Eric Feferberg/Pool

The mayor of Paris appeared less keen than François Hollande on Paris holding the 2024 Olympics the day after the French president told nearly eight million TV viewers he was firmly in favour of the French capital pitching to host the games.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Friday told the media the city will decide in January whether to bid for the 2024 Olympics.

“Nothing and nobody will make me change the timetable,” said at a press conference. “I am not in favour of taking hasty decisions based on emotion.

London Olympic Games 2012

That was far from a ringing endorsement of Hollande’s declaration in a much-publicised appearance on the TF1 TV channel that he wants Paris to bid for the 2024 summer Olympic Games and the 2025 World Expo.

Hollande acknowledged that it was up to the Paris mayor to decide but waxed enthusiastic about the alleged potential for job creation and showcasing French business.

Earlier this year Hidalgo suggested Paris might not be able to afford to bid and that it could wait for the 2028 games.

Paris authorities still have bitter and rather humiliating memories of being pipped to the post by London for the right to host the 2012 Olympics as well as failures in 2008 and 1992.

In March a 20-strong French delegation visited London to look at the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and learn a few lessons.

There are also concerns that bidding for both the Olympics and the expo would be too much to handle.

Earlier in the week the Canard Enchaîné weekly paper claimed that Hollande was growing impatient with Hidalgo’s cautious approach, telling the weekly cabinet meeting that she should “break her silence” on the matter.

Thursday’s statement is widely seen as an attempt to force her hand.

French Sports Minister Valérie Fourneyron refused to be drawn on whether Paris would be bidding, saying only that the city would not be a candidate for the sake of it.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who has previously declared his support for a bid, said there was no need to descend into polemics over the question during a visit to Serbia Friday.

France has not hosted a summer Olympics since the Paris Games in 1924, although it did hold a winter games in Albertville in 1992.

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