The moment of truth has come in the selection of the company that will be in charge of the security systems for the 2004 Olympic Games. After a marathon contest, evaluation processes, offers and counter-offers, the two consortiums submitted their final financial offers last Friday in keeping with the technical proposal made by each applicant. The two bids differ little from each other, with US defense consultancy SAIC offering 317.8 million euros and the French-US consortium TRS offering 318.1million euros. The government is expected to make a final decision in the coming days, while it is not impossible that KYSEA from the defense ministry could come to a decision in a matter of hours. The matter also depends on whether the government will decide to select a bidder for the time being and subsequently attempt to cut costs by limiting some of the infrastructure. Another option would be for the government to invite the two bidders to submit new offers after limiting some of the systems. Observers said the second scenario is less likely as the selection of a bidder based on Friday’s offers is to the government’s benefit. Furthermore, the two bidders have made it clear that they cannot reduce their offers based on the current specifications of the project. The government is under pressure to finalize the matter as the time frame for implementing the project is limited but also because the International Olympic Committee is standing by and exerting pressure. Sources said today’s meeting of the Cabinet on the Olympic Games will attempt to present a positive picture of projects that are significantly behind schedule, due in part to the bad weather. The contest for finding a company to install the security systems for the Olympic Games kicked off last September based on an initial budget of 210 million euros. Now, even some within the government are admitting that the costs will exceed 260 million euros due to some of the studies and specifications for the project. Both bidders had initially submitted offers exceeding 400 million euros and it took the prime minister’s intervention for them to lower their bids. Only after the contest was annulled and relaunched with parallel negotiations with the two consortiums were the offers reduced to around 320 million euros. It is certain that the consortium selected by the government will meet pressure to further reduce its asking price, while certain segments of the project will also be restricted. It appears that this is the only way to cut costs as Athens 2004’s specifications were not among the best.