Brisbane Lord Mayor quits 'dysfunctional' 2032 Olympics forum


FILE PHOTO: A view of the Southbank forecourt, a potential venue for archery for the 2032 Olympic Games bid for Brisbane, in Brisbane, Australia, June 29, 2021. Picture taken June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Jaimi Joy/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said on Sunday he would resign from an infrastructure delivery body for the 2032 Olympics in the Australian city, criticising plans to rebuild its famed Gabba cricket ground for the games.

"I will be resigning immediately from the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games Intergovernmental Leaders’ Forum," Schrinner said in a statement. "I will no longer fall into line and support the State Government’s current Gabba plan."

The Queensland government has pledged to rebuild the stadium for A$2.7 billion ($1.8 billion) for the games. The state already has 80% of the venues needed for the games, with the infrastructure expected to stay useful long after the event.

But concerns have been raised that the rebuild of the Gabba - a 128-year-old sports ground that traditionally hosts the first cricket test of each Australian summer - could go over budget and blow out the Olympics' carbon footprint.

Schrinner said the forum, which includes the Queensland and federal governments, mayors and the games organising committee boss was a "dysfunctional farce", with "real decisions" made by the state government.

A Queensland government spokesperson said it was difficult to understand how Schrinner could "go from being emphatically for something one day to emphatically against (it) the next".

"The door remains open anytime he wants to return," the spokesperson said in a statement.

Brisbane will become the third Australian city to host the summer Olympics, after Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.

Schrinner's resignation comes after International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates said last week that athlete numbers at the games must be reduced to help ensure they are cost effective.

With cricket, flag football, squash, baseball and softball being added in Los Angeles in 2028, participation numbers will climb beyond 11,000 for those games, but Coates wants that figure reduced when Brisbane host the event four years later.

($1 = 1.4988 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Sam McKeith in Sydney; Editing by Nick Zieminski and William Mallard)

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