Consultants hike estimate for Tromso's winter Olympic bid

Oslo - Norwegian city Tromso's hopes of bidding for the 2018 winter Olympics were brought into question Tuesday after a group of consultants doubled the estimated costs for the event.

The event would require a gross state guarantee of 28.6 billion kroner (4.98 billion dollars), Aage Enghaug, head of consultancy firm Norske Veritas, said when presenting the findings.

Tromso, above the Arctic Circle, was a year ago selected as Norwegian candidate over rival bids from Trondheim in central Norway and the capital Oslo.

Tromso then estimated costs at 15 billion kroner.

The Norwegian sports movement has to decide if it wants to use a portion of state funding earmarked for other sports facilities for the games, Sports and Culture Minister Trond Giske said of the estimated net costs of 19.1 billion kroner for the Norwegian state.

Giske added that the Norwegian sports movement and politicians "must ask" if it was time for Norway to host a sports event on the scope of the Olympics in 2018.

Norway hosted Winter Olympics in Oslo 1952 and in Lillehammer 1994.

According to Giske, about a fifth of future state-funding for new sports arenas and facilities would have to be used for the winter games.

Tove Paule, president of the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports, attended the release of the report and said it would have to be reviewed carefully.

Giske noted that Tromso will face stiff competition from among others Munich, Germany and noted interest from South Korea.

The 2018 host city will be selected by the International Olympic Committee, IOC, in 2011.

While not evaluating the feasibility of Tromso's bid, the report questioned the proposed transport of spectators - mainly by plane - to Tromso and using cruise ships as hotels.

The 259-page report was prepared by consultancy firm Norske Veritas, the Institute for Research in Economics and Business Administration and Advansia that specializes in complex construction projects. (dpa)

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