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1ST LEAD De Maiziere: 2024 Olympic bid is more important than Euro 2024 By dpa correspondents

Germany
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Berlin (dpa) - Germany is capable of hosting the Euro 2024 football tournament and the Summer Olympics in Hamburg a few weeks later but the Olympics are the more important event, according to German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

"We can do both. I don‘t think they cancel each other out. But if I would be forced to say which one is the more important then I would say: the Olympic bid," he told dpa.

Germany is bidding for both events and is favoured to win the right to host Euro 2024. Pending a November 29 referendum and the deciding vote in 2017 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Hamburg aims to stage the Olympics a few weeks later, with Los Angeles, Paris, Rome and Budapest the other contenders.

Leading sports officials including IOC president Thomas Bach have also said that Germany has the capacity to hold both events.

De Maiziere, whose portfolio includes sport, rated Hamburg‘s chances "good" despite strong opposition, saying: "Hamburg has delivered a strong bid. We need not be afraid. You can‘t say that we will only bid if the rivals are weaker."

The German government supports Hamburg‘s bid with 10 million euros (11.2 million dollars), and De Maiziere is upbeat that the bid won‘t be stopped by the referendum, like Munich‘s attempt to bid for the 2022 Winter Games was.

"I hope for big approval," he said.

A key aspect of the referendum will be finances, and Hamburg mayor Olaf Scholz will present the figures Thursday at a news conference, according to an invitation issued Wednesday.

"We calculated thoroughly and over a long period in order to avoid the mistake of being too fast," local government sports official Christoph Holstein said.

Hamburg plans to build the Olympic stadium, other key venues and the athletes village on an island on the Elbe river near the city centre.

The area is to house 17,000 people in the long run and to provide 7,000 jobs. The swim venue is to be opened for the public after the Games and the main Olympic indoor arena to be turned into a cruise ship terminal.

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(18.07.2018 10:55)

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