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PARIS 2024 OLYMPICS

Paris on track for 2024 Olympics, says mayor

Paris is on time and on budget for the 2024 Olympics, the city's mayor said on Tuesday, dismissing concern expressed recently by a senior Olympics official.

Paris on track for 2024 Olympics, says mayor
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo (on the left) poses with French ministers and head of the Paris Olympics Organising Committee after signing the protocol for the opening ceremony on May 23rd (Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP)

“Look at all the previous Olympics and Paralympics around the world, one year before the Games, generally it’s stressful and people are saying ‘we’ll never manage this’. Well, we’re ready,” mayor Anne Hidalgo told the France Inter radio station on Tuesday.

“We’re on budget and we’re on time.”

During a visit to Paris on Monday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) official Pierre-Olivier Beckers, who is responsible for monitoring the Paris Games, voiced concern about the work needed to balance the budget.

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: How accessible is Paris for people with disabilities?

French authorities chipped in another €111 million last December to take into account inflation, taking the overall budget to €4.48 billion.

Delays in signing major sponsorship deals, including with French luxury goods giant LVMH, has also left a major question mark about the finances of the event.

“There is still plenty of work to do,” Beckers told reporters.

A provisional report from the French national auditor, revealed by Le Monde newspaper on Monday, said that “substantial  uncertainties remain, notably for domestic partnerships.”

READ MORE: What we know so far about the audacious Paris Olympics opening ceremony

The Games have also become embroiled in a row over ticket pricing, with the high cost of attending many events leading to criticism of organisers amid a cost-of-living crisis in France.

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PARIS 2024 OLYMPICS

France angers UN after announcing hijab ban for Olympic athletes

The UN stressed on Tuesday it was opposed to most dress codes for women, after France barred its athletes from wearing the Muslim hijab during the 2024 Paris Olympics.

France angers UN after announcing hijab ban for Olympic athletes

“No-one should impose on a woman what she needs to wear or not wear,” United Nations rights office spokeswoman Marta Hurtado told reporters in Geneva.

Hurtado’s comment came after the French sports minister said the country’s athletes would be barred from wearing headscarves during the Games, in line with the country’s strict rules on secularism.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Does France really have a hijab ban?

French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera repeated on Sunday that the government was opposed to any display of religious symbols during sporting events.

“What does that mean? That means a ban on any type of proselytising. That means absolute neutrality in public services,” she told France 3 television.

“The France team will not wear the headscarf.”

Hurtado did not address France’s stance directly.

But she stressed that the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women ruled out discriminatory practices.

“Any state party to the convention — in this case France — has an obligation to … modify social or cultural patterns which are based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either sexes,” Hurtado said.

“Discriminatory practices against a group can have harmful consequences,” she pointed out.

“That is why … restrictions on expressions of religions or beliefs, such as attire choices, are only acceptable under really specific circumstances,” she explained.

That, she said, meant circumstances “that address legitimate concerns of public safety, public order, or public health or morals in a necessary and proportionate fashion”.

In France, the issue of religious dress goes to the heart of the country’s strict rules on secularism.

These are intended to keep the state neutral in religious matters, while guaranteeing citizens the right to freely practice their religion.

France’s laws prohibit the wearing of “ostentatious” religious symbols in some contexts, such as in state schools and by civil servants.

It outlawed full-face coverings in 2010.

In June, France’s Council of State upheld a ban on women footballers wearing the hijab.

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