Olympics - Brisbane Games must fit the region, says IOC


(Reuters) - The Brisbane 2032 Olympics must fit the city and the region and not the other way round, the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday, less than two weeks after plans to construct a new stadium were scrapped.

The existing Lang Park stadium will host the Games' opening and closing ceremonies after the Queensland government rejected the recommendation of a review that a new A$3.4 billion arena be built in the city.

The Quirk Review was commissioned by the government to look into a plan to rebuild the city's Gabba cricket ground to host the ceremonies and athletics at the Games as part of a A$2.7 billion redevelopment of the Woolloongabba suburb.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles, however, decided the stadium would be upgraded rather than torn down and rebuilt.

"For us the messaging is clear: the Games will need to fit the region," Kirsty Coventry, who heads the IOC's Coordination Commission, said in a media call following a meeting with Brisbane Games organisers.

"They (region) need to decide what's best for them and everyone who lives in these areas, and the Games will adapt to that."

She said with the Games still more than eight years away this was the time for any major changes.

"Brisbane will now refine the venue master plan. It will take a bit of time for stakeholders, specifically in different levels of government, to decide what's best for city, the region and the country. The games will fit into that," Coventry said.

Lang Park holds 52,500 fans and hosts both rugby codes as well as concerts.

Brisbane was awarded the Olympics in 2021 under the IOC's New Norm process, a targeted procedure aimed at saving hundreds of millions of dollars for host cities and increasing long-term sustainability.

Around 80% of the venues for the 2032 Games are in place with the main stadium redevelopment and a federal government-funded A$2.5 billion arena to host the swimming the only two major construction projects planned.

"There is no concern at this stage. Not at all," Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said when asked whether the IOC now had concerns about more major changes.

"These are decisions to be made by the communities and when you have the support from the ground up this is how you ensure you have no further issues down the road."

The 2024 Olympics will be held in Paris and Los Angeles will host the 2028 Games.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)

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