The most legendary cycling race in the world meets the best cycling city in the world: this was the slogan to celebrate the event that started on Friday in Copenhagen. The Tour de France begins in Denmark for the first time, and the bike-loving Danes have decided to turn it into a great folklore festival. They are still there, but a few ugly revelations weakened the spirit of the party.
“Can I wait for the Tour de France? Yes, damn it. Crazy, ‘wrote the newspaper’s sports editor Policy on Friday: “But that doesn’t change the fact that we don’t have an answer to a key question.” Actually, there are at least two questions: How much exactly does the taxpayer have fun? And why are contracts with a private French organizer secret to this day?
One thing cannot be said: Danish politics and Danish sport did not do their best to bring the tour to Denmark. Over the years they have courted tour director Christian Prudhomme with such passion, blaming Prime Ministers and Crown Princes that Prudhomme said in Copenhagen in 2015 that he had competed in the Tour de France in 20 years, but “this is the first time I have done so. was welcome ”.
It is now clear that promises will not be kept
For years, citizens have been promised that it is a good deal for both sides. Former Trade and Tourism Minister Rasmus Jarlov said that with global exposure and publicity, they would earn “multiple” of what they put on the tour. The current Minister of Trade and Industry, Simon Kollerup, continued to talk about “100 percent” of the profit that Denmark would receive.
It is now clear that these promises will not be kept. The costs are much higher than expected. Nobody knows exactly how much the municipalities involved in the three Danish stages will ultimately spend, Policy calculated and reported expenses of at least 180 million kroons (equivalent to more than 24 million euros) – twice the amount of 90 million which was calculated in advance. Newspaper Berlingske It was also revealed last week that the Tour de France caravan racing crews will be flown to France at the end of the Danish stages at the expense of the Danish state.
That the festival would become a “big back-to-back business”, so Berlingskewill be, it’s one thing. A lot of people didn’t want it to spoil their fun. “Culture is allowed: it does not pay” – was the title of the comment. The fact that bicycle racing is naturally part of the culture also says something about the Danish soul.
But it was another thing to expose Policyunder which Denmark’s contracts with the ASO organizer will remain secret to citizens until further notice. Under the headline “Blackout” the newspaper informed the Danes two weeks ago that although they can pay for almost the entire festival, they are not allowed to see the terms, requirements and payments made between the Danish state and municipalities on one side and the Dealership on the other side are agreed. Because the contracts are bound by confidentiality.
The politician calls the contracts “undemocratic and non-transparent”
But since Danes are at least as enthusiastic about democracy and transparency as they are about cycling, this revelation hit deeper. They remind that this is by far the largest public investment in a sports event on Danish soil Policy: “Is it really up to the municipalities to invest money in a private French company?” Asked the newspaper, recalling that the same municipalities would have to make drastic cuts in care and schools at the same time. Transparency International Denmark has of course demanded that the public have access to the contracts as soon as possible.
One of the few local politicians who dared to speak out in public was Anna Bondo of Roskilde’s Red-Green List of Unity. When asked, she was given access to the contracts but was not allowed to disclose any details, but called them “undemocratic and non-transparent”. finance such a company. ” At the same time, she informed that for this criticism her colleagues from the city council felt that they were considered the killer of the party.
Copenhagen mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen defended the Copenhagen treaties Policy: Confidentiality is “the price we paid to be able to organize a world event.” Yes, details can be shared with the audience – but only later, when the tour says goodbye to Denmark. Then there will be “total transparency” and she looks forward to it.