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Farmers dig in against Munich Olympics

The Local · 14 Dec 2010, 11:55

Published: 14 Dec 2010 11:55 GMT+01:00

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Dozens of farmers and landowners from the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where ski events would be held, have written to the Bavarian state government ruling out the use of their land and demanding the government withdraw Munich’s bid for the games, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

If the Bavarian government has not withdrawn by December 22, the farmers plan to approach the International Olympic Committee directly and tell the organisation it cannot use their land for any games.

The farmer blockade has been brewing since this summer, when the chairman of the Pasture Association Garmisch, Josef Glatz, accused state leaders and the local Olympic committee of having simply assumed that the property was theirs to use if the region wins the bid and to have ignored warnings to the contrary.

Munich is competing against the town of Annecy in the French Alps and Pyeongchang, South Korea to host the games. The winning bid will be announced on July 6, 2011.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is already hosting the 2011 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in February.

How great a blow the farmers' ultimatum is for the Munich bid is in dispute.

Some of the land lies at the finishing line of the famous Kandahar downhill run near the ski station of the Gudiberg and Hausberg mountains.

“All land lies within the safety zone that the IOC demands all around the Olympic grounds,” said lawyer Ludwig Seitz of the Munich firm Labbé und Partner, which is representing the farmers. Without this ground, the whole area would not function as a games venue, he said.

Previously the head of the state chancellery of Bavaria, Siegfried Schneider, has said the problem was being ironed out. Bavarian premier Horst Seehofer has praised Schneider for his handling of negotiations with farmers in the area.

Schneider told Süddeutsche Zeitung that the bid would not be ruined by the protests of the landowners.

“The bid is in no way threatened,” he said. “If it comes to it, there are back-up plans.”

Most of the landowners represented by Labbé und Partner were not affected by the Olympic planning, he said.

Story continues below…

Sources close to the negotiations said parts of the farmers’ land could be relinquished by games organisers, though that would mean securing use of other areas that could also prove difficult.

“It’s getting harder to say, ‘It will work without your land,’” one government source told Süddeutsche Zeitung. “We still don’t have all the areas joined together.”

If the landowners dig in their heels, then other ski runs will need to be found and facilities moved. Because of protests in the Oberammergau municipality, plans for the cross-country and biathlon events have already had be shifted to the Ohlstadt municipality near the town of Garmisch.

The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:18 December 14, 2010 by delvek
My selfish comment would be to welcome the games since its not far from my home and would love to see them.

Lets face it though, the Oympic machine comes in, destroys the land and leaves a mess in its wake as it leaves.

Having spent lots of time in Lower Bavaria, I dont blame the farmers!
14:03 December 14, 2010 by LancashireLad
I get the feeling that all the Olympic committee would have needed to do is to directly talk to each of the affected farmers to say, "I'm sorry, but for the bid to go ahead we will need this bit of your land. How can we arrange this between us?"

The article gives me the impression that this was not done.

Why am I not surprised?
15:18 December 14, 2010 by raandy
How can you bid ,when you do not have the land secured,,seems they are putting the horse before the cart.
16:31 December 14, 2010 by LancashireLad
They looked at the job at hand and decided what was to be done to make it happen.

They didn't step back, look around and consider that other people might be affected by their actions.

Sound familiar?
19:26 December 14, 2010 by auniquecorn
Hey, this is germany, Take the Fvckin land from them.,
22:31 December 14, 2010 by mikeravx
This shows exactly how unbelievably communist Germany truly is. I mean there is nothing wrong with being communist, except they just won't admit it - oh we're "free market socialists". This simply shows that the country has no respect for private property and is constantly focusing on what it thinks is better for society at large. These land owners - or in other words - "freedom fighters" should show the socialist pigs at the top that only when rights of landowners and earners are respected, will the economy recover from the deep hole that was created by reckless socialist spending.
02:02 December 16, 2010 by Bishopbayern
having spent some time in this amazing place I agree that the alpine farmers land is too beautiful to destroy. The Olympics will just cover garmisch in concrete.
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