By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

March 31 - Nicolas Sarkozy (pictured) has written to Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), to assure him of the French Government's backing for Annecy's bid to host the 2018 Games.

The French President, who attended the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, confirmed his support and that of the entire Government, so that every effort should be put in place to make the Games "the best celebration of sport ever offered to the world".

Sarkozy's letter coincides with the release of figures from Annecy which claim that 88 per cent of the French population are behind the bid.

Annecy 2018 conducted a telephone survey of 2,000 people in France on their general opinion of the candidature for the Applicant File submitted to the IOC on March 12.

It found that 88 per cent of people surveyed backed the bid and 90 per cent saw the positive effects of the Olympics and Paralympics being staged in Annecy.

Edgar Grospiron, the chief executive of Annecy 2018, said: "These results are very positive because they make a clear statement about France’s support of Annecy 2018 and that the French population considers that the Olympic and Paralympic Games have a positive impact on the host country.

"This strong national support is very important because Annecy 2018 represents France in the eyes of the IOC in this international competition to win the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.”

Annecy officials are hoping that this support spreads to the business community when they launch "Club 2018" at a special event tomorrow which will be attended by a number of dignitaries, including Bernard Accoyer, the President of the National Assembly, Roselyne Bachelot, the French Minister of Health and Sports, and Guy Drut, the 1976 Olympic 110 metres hurdles champion who is now a member of the IOC.

The Club, which is open to companies across France, is aimed at small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who can show their support for the bid and demonstrate how much they want the Games in their country.

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