Setback for Annecy 2018 bid

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Setback for Annecy 2018 bid

PARIS - Edgar Grospiron resigned as the head of Annecy’s struggling bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics on Sunday. Grospiron announced his decision during a meeting of the bid’s supervisory board, the board’s chairman Christian Monteil told The Associated Press by telephone.

“He will no longer be general director. We will have to recruit someone to replace him, that is for sure, but we will keep good relations with him,’’ Monteil said. “He remains at the disposal of the candidature.’’

Although Grospiron, the Olympic skiing moguls champion in 1992, has stepped aside as the bid’s leader, he will still offer his support to the French city’s bid in other roles, with the transition toward a new leader, Monteil said. He added that the split was amicable.

“We have accepted his point of view. He will stay close to us to try and help with the transition,’’ Monteil said. “He hasn’t slammed the door shut.’’

Annecy is competing against Munich and Pyeongchang. The IOC will select the host on July 6 in Durban, South Africa.

After the IOC in June criticized the bid’s spread-out venues, Annecy officials changed their plans to offer a more centralized project centered around Annecy and Chamonix.

But last week, French IOC members Jean-Claude Killy and Guy Drut said Annecy was still lagging behind because it started its campaign too late and had largely failed to convince IOC members about its revamped plans.

That prompted French Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno to pledge renewed support on Friday for Annecy’s bid, notably to help find more funding and sponsorship once the bid’s international marketing strategy has been clearly defined.

Following Sunday’s meeting, the bid’s budget got a timely boost and will now be increased from 18 million euros ($24 million) to 20 million ($26.4 million) euros, Monteil said.

The meeting was also held to discuss ways to hire personnel capable of boosting the bid’s international profile.

Last week, Monteil said Annecy would soon hire consultants to help Grospiron promote the bid, which seems to have been the main basis for disagreement on Sunday.

“Basically, we have not done enough to promote our bid internationally and we don’t have a short-term solution,’’ Monteil said.

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