Hollande criticises Britain for 'money making' Olympics

Aug 01, 2012, 07:22 IST | Agencies

French President attacks empty corporate seats at the London Games saying France's version would target 'gold, not money'

French President Francois Hollande has questioned the need for so many corporate seats at the London Olympics, saying a French version would be interested in ‘gold, not money’. Expressing surprise at the number of empty seats at the Games, Hollande suggested that corporate clients were simply not turning up.

Not on our watch: French President Francois Hollande has said that if France got the 2024 Olympics, there would not be as many empty seats. Pic/AFP

Speaking during a visit to London on Monday, he said, “The problem is that there are simply too many corporate seats. It will be up to French organisers to sort out this problem if a bid for a future games is to be successful.”

Hollande confirmed that a number of French cities were likely to bid for the 2024 Olympics. “I am not here to announce a candidacy,” he said, “but we will present an extremely strong bid.” Highlighting the fact that his Socialist government detested corporate greed and was solely interested in winning medals, Hollande said: “We don’t talk of money, we talk of gold.”

Hollande stopped short of directly criticising the British, however, saying, “The London Olympics have been very well organised. I’m not here to be a killjoy or to give lessons to the British. It’s not worthy of France.”

Most of the events in London have, so far, been blighted by rows of empty seats. Pointing to the fact that France was currently beating Britain in the medals table, Hollande said, “The British have rolled out a red carpet for French athletes to win medals. I thank them very much for that, but the competition is not over.”

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