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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

France24: 500 days before the Paris Olympics, but transport and security raise questions

First, the opening ceremony will take place on the Seine with the Eiffel Tower and other monuments in the background. This aroused the concern of the security services. The plan calls for up to 600,000 spectators. Political sources say that number could be revised downwards. Private security companies struggle to recruit enough staff. The question arose whether the military would be involved, as was the case at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Second, will Paris’ transport system, which has been plagued by staff shortages and strikes in recent months, be ready to move millions of people around the city. The RATP network operator, led by former French Prime Minister Jean Castex, is under intense pressure. There are concerns about whether a key metro line to the Olympic Village can be completed in time. The great shortage of bus drivers is also questioned. Paris airports are still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget of the organizing committee, 96% of which comes from private funds, amounted to 4.4 billion euros last year. The same amount was spent by the builders of the Olympic facilities. The total budget will be 8.8 billion euros.

Earlier it became known that Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to participate in official international fencing competitions. The International Olympic Committee has said it wants to find a “way” for Russian and Belarusian athletes to allow them to compete in the Olympics under a neutral flag. IOC President Thomas Bach communicated the decision to the various sports federations.

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