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Keller @ Large: Has Walsh Placed Insurmountable Hurdle In Boston 2024 Olympics Bid?

BOSTON (CBS) - Has Boston Mayor Marty Walsh placed an insurmountable hurdle in the path of Boston's 2024 Summer Olympics bid?

In an interview with WBZ-TV News set to air in its entirety this Sunday at 8:30 a.m., the mayor was asked about the International Olympic Committee's practice of requiring host cities to cover any cost overruns or revenue shortfalls.

Keller Walsh
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh talks to WBZ-TV's Jon Keller. (WBZ-TV)

Here is a transcript of the ensuing exchange:

WBZ: Will you agree to that or will you insist on striking that out?

WALSH: No I won't be signing any document that will have the City of Boston responsible for any overruns. 2024 is looking at ways now of how to give the city a guarantee. What they did in Chicago is they were able to take out a $1.4 billion insurance policy. So they're reviewing all of that. But as mayor of the City of Boston I will not sign any final document. The first document that was signed was a concept, an idea, this one is real.

WBZ: That's been standard IOC boilerplate.

WALSH: It has been standard boilerplate, but they have to come up with....we have to work with the IOC and the USOC to come up with other language there.

But a concession on that point is unlikely, according to veteran Olympics reporter Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune, who writes that Walsh's comments are "just another example of how the city really did not know what the private group behind the Boston 2024 bid was getting its citizenry in for."

Hersh covered Chicago's failed bid for the 2016 Summer Games, and notes that "when then Mayor Richard Daley learned during a meeting of the 2016 bid cities and the IOC members in Lausanne, Switzerland, that the IOC would not budge [on the cost-overrun issue], he agreed to sign the host city contract with no modifications because he knew the bid would be dead at that point if he did not do that. Daley's move by executive fiat caused a brief firestorm back home, but he later got the city council to approve that deal by a 49-0 vote."

"The USOC is not going to be the financial backstop. A Boston bid committee might be able to cobble together insurance policies and cash to the tune of about $5 billion as a guarantee that might assuage taxpayers they will not pay for any shortfall, but there is no indication the IOC would drop the requirement that the City of Boston will have to sign the IOC document assuming financial responsibility for it."

You can watch Jon Keller's entire interview with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WBZ-TV.

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