For those of you struggling to find something to bet on in this most uneventful of weekends, there’s always the announcement of which city will host the 2020 Olympic Games.
The International Olympic Committee now only have to listen to the presentations of the three remaining candidates to host the event – Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul.
After a final session of questions for the candidates, and doubtless a few trips to the cake trolley, the delegates will then vote, a process which is expected to go to a second round.
Current favourite in the betting is Tokyo, at 8/11. Madrid is 13/8 and Istanbul the outsider at 6/1.
However, Olympic historian Robert Livingstone has said: “I have never seen a race like it. All of these cities have compelling stories. It’s a complete toss-up.”
Istanbul has the history, the telegenic cityscapes and an economy heading in the right direction, but its most recent appearances on international television, controlling protestors with water cannons and rubber bullets, won’t have helped.
Neither will its proximity to countries such as Syria which other international gatherings are currently contemplating whether to bomb.
Tokyo is well-funded, well-organised and domestically popular, but the Japanese bid team are constantly having to answer questions about the Fukushima nuclear leak.
While they are at pains to emphasise the distance between the two locations, IOC representatives worry that such fears may wreck international ticket sales.
The Madrid bid is low-cost and has most of the infrastructure ready to go, but some IOC members may feel a little embarrassed giving the event, with its huge public spending implications, to a country with such a wretched economy and towering unemployment.
Madrid, however, believes its time has come. It still feels a sense of indignation that Barcelona has staged the games when it, the capital, has not. And the city also feels it should have won the vote which gave the games to London.
One source told the BBC “If it was London versus Madrid in the final round, we (London) would have lost. But when it was us versus Paris, we picked up more third and fourth choice votes than they did”.
The implication then is that Madrid have learnt enough cake trolley diplomacy over the years to swing the vote their way, and that Madrid at 13/8 is the way to go.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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