Olympics: Hamburg residents vote against 2024 Games bid

Passersby walk past a poster with the Olympic rings on the Rota Flora theater in Hamburg, Germany, on Nov 22, 2015.
Passersby walk past a poster with the Olympic rings on the Rota Flora theater in Hamburg, Germany, on Nov 22, 2015. PHOTO: EPA
A ballot of a referendum whether Hamburg should push ahead to host the 2024 Olympics is pictured at a polling station in Hamburg, northern Germany on Nov 29, 2015.
A ballot of a referendum whether Hamburg should push ahead to host the 2024 Olympics is pictured at a polling station in Hamburg, northern Germany on Nov 29, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - Hamburg's bid to host the 2024 Olympics fell at the first hurdle on Sunday (Nov 29) when residents voted 'No' in a crunch referendum as the German public again torpedoed plans to host a Games.

Hamburg is now out of the race, leaving Budapest, Paris, Los Angeles and Rome as the candidate cities bidding to stage the 2024 Summer Games, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to announce their decision on Sept 13, 2017.

Local residents in Hamburg and Kiel, where the sailing events would have been held, vetoed the proposed bid with 51.7 per cent of the 650,000 votes against the Olympic bid while 48.3 were in favour, according to early official figures.

Hamburg's mayor Olaf Scholz waved the white flag shortly after 2100 local time (2000 GMT).

"Hamburg will not bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games," he said glumly.

"I would have liked a different decision, but the result is clear and has to be accepted."

This is the second time in two years the German public has turned down the chance to host an Olympics after residents scuppered Munich's bid to host the 2022 Winter Games by voting 'No' in the 2013 referendum in southern Germany.

The Hamburg result is another body blow for the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), who had opted for the Hanseatic city over the capital Berlin.

The recent terror attacks in Paris and concerns about the massive costs of hosting an Olympics had clearly played on voters' minds as 64 per cent of Hamburg residents had said they were in favour of an Olympic bid in a poll in September.

"We had set out with Hamburg to give sport in Germany a new perspective, but the next generation will now not get this chance," said DOSB president Alfons Hoermann.

"Our goal now is to develop sport in Germany without the vision of an Olympic Games, but on this path so far, we have only tended to meet an opposing head wind."