Sir Rols Posted May 7, 2014 Report Share Posted May 7, 2014 Gotta hand it to the Melburnians, they're determined: Lord Mayor Robert Doyle wants us on bench for Olympics, CupLORD Mayor Robert Doyle has called for Melbourne to market itself as the world’s leading stand-in host city for global sports events. Under the ambitious plan, which has the support of major events veteran Ron Walker, Melbourne could become the “Plan B” host city for global events, such as the Olympic Games and the soccer World Cup, when the city originally chosen is struggling to make the grade. Clouds are hanging over the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and there are doubts Rio will be ready for the 2016 Olympics. Cr Doyle said Melbourne could be a ready replacement, and should put the world on notice. “If Rio falls over, we could put our hand up and say we have the facilities and the know-how to put on an Olympic Games,’’ he said. “No other city in the world could do that.’’ IOC vice-president John Coates on Wednesday described Rio’s Games preparations as “the worst I have experienced”. Cr Doyle said Melbourne had the remarkable sports stadiums, transport hubs, restaurants and major events know-how to put on the biggest shows on earth at the drop of a hat. “We don’t need huge infrastructure investment in Melbourne to deliver these world-class events. And if any of those events were held in Melbourne, you wouldn’t be seeing empty stands on TV,’’ he said. “We would fill seats with people in their hundreds of thousands.’’ Pressure is mounting for Qatar to be stripped of the World Cup amid allegations it paid bribes to secure the event from Japan, Australia, Korea and the US. Australia has been touted as a potential replacement. And Rio is in a race against time to ensure its infrastructure is ready for the Olympics. So Cr Doyle said Melbourne should be ready to hijack the events. “What if one of these world events does fall over? What if there is a terrorist attack?’’ Cr Doyle said. “Could we be the fallback host, knowing there is the security, a wonderful event strategy, the ability to mobilise major sporting venues quite quickly? “There may be a time in the future for us to market ourselves overseas that way.’’ Australian Grand Prix chairman Mr Walker backed Cr Doyle’s push, suggesting his F1 staff at Albert Park alone were good enough to organise an Olympics in Melbourne at short notice. “In fact, if you look at the infrastructure that is already there, we could put on an Olympic Games for a fraction of the cost of anybody else,’’ he said. Cr Doyle said Victoria boasted one of the “greatest sporting precincts in the world’’, bounded by the MCG, Melbourne Park and AAMI Park, as well as Etihad Stadium and Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, within walking distance of the CBD. “Try walking from Wimbledon to Wembley and see how you go,’’ he said. “But we can walk from Rod Laver to the MCG easily in a matter of minutes.’’ Herald Sun Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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