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France considering possible 2024 bid

French Minister of Sport Valerie Fourneyron arrives at the Elysee Palace to attend the government seminar, "France in 2025" as ministers end
French Minister of Sport Valerie Fourneyron arrives at the Elysee Palace to attend the government seminar, "France in 2025" as ministers end

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - The bitter taste of their failure to win the vote to host the 2012 Olympics still lingering, France are considering bidding for the 2024 Games.

However, a French bid would only be put forward if they "meet the conditions for a candidacy" Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron told a media briefing at the Foreign ministry on Wednesday.

In 2005 Paris, following unsuccessful bids for the 1992 and 2008 Games, looked favorites to clinch the 2012 Summer Games but was pipped by London -- a result that left France stunned.

Last April, the Sports ministry and the National Olympic Committee created the French Committee for International Sports (CFSI) to shape the country's international sports policy.

"There is no point in going (for an Olympic bid) just because we're taken by it, we also need a strategy," the CFSI president, Bernard Lapasset, who is also the International Rugby Board (IRB) president, said.

While the 2012 London bid was led by double Olympic champion Sebastian Coe, the Paris bid was spearheaded by entrepreneur Philippe Baudillon, not exactly a recognizable face.

Now it seems France has learnt the lesson.

"We need the implication of the athletes from the beginning," double fencing Olympic champion Laura Flessel-Colovic told the briefing, which was chaired by French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius.

"Let's face it, we are potential consultants. We have a lot of power and it's not used enough."

Lapasset added: We all have this fantastic desire of hosting the Olympic Games in France one day.

"Let's put our heart, our energy into it, but also our intellect, our capacity to build a project that meets the requirements of the IOC."

France's hope to run for a 2024 bid could suffer an early setback should the United States enter the race.

Having fully restored their ties with IOC after years of disputes over revenue sharing, the U.S. are eyeing a bid for 2024 that would almost immediately become the frontrunner in that race after the snub for Chicago for 2016.

Applications to host the 2024 Olympics are expected to land at the IOC as of 2015.

(Additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Martyn Herman)

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