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Germany

German government backs Munich's 2018 winter Olympics bid

Munich's bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games received a boost when the German government announced it would throw its weight behind the attempt, providing around a third of the potential costs.

A Munich 2018 billboard

Germany is up against France and South Korea in the bid

The cabinet in Berlin has agreed to provide financial support if Munich wins the chance to host the Olympic Games in 2018. Munich is competing against Annecy in France, and Pyeongchang in South Korea.

"Today's cabinet decision means the federal government has put into effect the German parliament's recommendation of July 2, 2009 to promote and support the Olympic bid," the German interior minister Thomas de Maizière, who is responsible for the sport portfolio, said on Wednesday.

The guarantees include financial support for the organization of the games and the application of legal regulations in the fight against doping.

The government is set to provide some 500 million euros (700 million dollars) for the games. The total cost is estimated at 1.3 billion euros. The government will not contribute to the bid's marketing costs of 33 million euros, but will step in to help if the organizing committee runs up a deficit.

A first for Bavaria?

The head of the Munich bid committee, Katarina Witt, a former East German figure skating champion, welcomed the cabinet's decision.

Katarina Witt on the ice

Katarina Witt won gold for East Germany in 1984

"I am delighted we have received this wholehearted endorsement from elected representatives at all levels of government," Witt said.

"We clearly have a nationwide appreciation of the huge benefits the games would bring to Bavaria, Germany and the Olympic movement," she added.

If Munich won the bid, it would become the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics. The city staged the summer games in 1972.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will select the winner of the competition to host the 2018 winter games on July 6, 2011.

Author: Joanna Impey (dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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