World Cup Notebook : And Now, a Word From Barcelona

Times Staff Writer

The city of Barcelona, Spain, brought its campaign to hold the 1992 Olympic Games to Mexico on Friday, hoping to sell the idea to at least a few of the 5,000 journalists who are here to cover the World Cup.

Barcelona Mayor Pasqual Maragall, speaking at a surprisingly well-attended press conference Friday night, said he expects his city’s bid to be favorably received when the International Olympic Committee makes its final decision on Oct. 17 at Lausanne, Switzerland.

In addition to Barcelona, five other cities are candidates to play host to the Summer Games in 1992, but only Paris and Amsterdam are considered serious challengers to Barcelona.

Describing Barcelona as the “cradle of Spanish sports,” Maragall said his city’s projected Olympic budget is $667 million, with $293 million of that amount expected to come from the sale of television and radio rights.


In answer to a question about finances, Maragall said he does not expect the Olympics to show any deficit, pointing out that “times have changed” since the fiscally disastrous Montreal Games of 1976, and that sponsorship is now much easier to come by, as Los Angeles showed in 1984.

All segments of Barcelona society support the city’s bid, he said, adding that the recent election of a Socialist government in Spain would have no effect on Barcelona’s ability or willingness to play host to the event.

“More than 80% of the facilities are there already,” Maragall said, “and we have already enrolled 40,000 volunteers for the Games.”

Barcelona envisages holding the Olympics from July 25 to Aug. 9, 1992, but the mayor said the city is prepared to hold the Games any time between June 21 and Sept. 15 of that year.


“Spain is the only major European country not to have held the Olympic Games,” he said, adding that Barcelona, which has been trying to host the Games since 1924, is unlikely to apply again in the near future if the current bid fails.

Maragall said two-thirds of the IOC members had visited the city, but that he had no indication of how they will vote in October.

Asked whether the fact that IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch is Spanish would affect the voting, Maragall said Samaranch had told him he would not participate in the balloting.

Outlining a 10-point argument in favor of the city’s candidature, Maragall pointed out that “there have been no attempts at terrorism in Barcelona since 1920,” and that “Barcelona can guarantee the safety of visitors.”


As evidence of the city’s ability to organize the Games, Maragall told his audience to consider the success of the 1982 World Cup, when many of the events, including the Opening Ceremony and one of the semifinal matches, were held in Barcelona.

Samaranch, who had visited the International Press Center here Thursday, did not attend Friday’s press conference.

A bronze medal might be worth something in Olympic competition, but apparently third place does not do much for World Cup coaches or players.

Today in Puebla, France and Belgium meet to decide which country finishes third, but neither seems particularly interested. Belgian Coach Guy Thys has said he will field what amounts to a reserve team, while his French counterpart, Henri Michel, probably will have to do the same.


When France met Poland in the third-place game in 1982 at Spain, the top French stars such as Michel Platini declined to play and France lost. It is unlikely the players will have a change of heart today.

“The match for third place is unimportant since it is going to be played between two teams that are disappointed in not reaching the Final,” Thys said after Belgium had been beaten by Argentina in the semifinals.

“The tournament is over, and I’m not very concerned about it (today’s match). . . . I will use players who have not yet participated in the Cup.”

Notes The most countries ever to broadcast a single soccer match, 162, carried the France-West Germany semifinal last Wednesday. The Belgium-Argentina game was shown in 140 countries. . . . Brazilian referee Romualdo Filho has been named to officiate Sunday’s championship game. Filho will be assisted by linesmen Erik Fredricksson of Sweden and Berny Morera of Costa Rica. . . . Mexican Coach Bora Milutinovic accepted a check for 15 million pesos (about $25,000) on behalf of the victims of last September’s earthquakes. The money was raised in West Germany. . . . Zico, the Brazilian star whose missed penalty kick during regulation time cost his country a quarterfinal victory over France, said he will no longer play for the national team. Zico said it was time for Brazil to develop younger players with an eye toward the 1990 World Cup in Italy.