POSTED: September 16th 2015

Olympics: IOC President Thomas Bach announces five 'outstanding' cities bidding for the 2024 Summer Games

The IOC headquarters / SFC
The IOC headquarters / SFC

JOHN GOODBODY (UK) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Budapest, Hamburg, Los Angles, Paris and Rome are the five candidate cities to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced in telephone news conference today.

Thomas Bach said that the cities would be the first to benefit from the agreements of Olympic Agenda 2020, which made wide-reaching changes to staging the Games, and the five were "really highly qualified" and the competition to be awarded them would be a "strong and fascinating one." The IOC will make their choice in Lima, Peru in 2017.

Bach said that apart from informal talks from several other cities, there were also discussions with Doha and also Baku, which this year hosted the first European Games. He explained that Doha decided not to take part in in the invitation phase which ended on September 15, when formal bids had to be deposited in Lausanne. He added that there was consultation with Baku but both the capital of Azerbaijan and the IOC came to the conclusion that it would be better to bid for 2028 or another date, saying:"I would like to thank Baku with how they have addressed the whole question".

He did not think that the absence of any Asian candidate was significant-although the 2018 and 2022 Winter and 2020 Summer Games will be held in the Far East. He felt that any informal rotation between continents was "losing importance in an increasingly globalised world." 

Bach said he was delighted with how the five candidates had embraced Olympic Agenda 2020, which he said brought "more diversity and creativity in the competition. Cities are telling the Olympic Games how they fit into their vision of their cities rather than the other way round. Sustainability and legacy are the top priorities."

The whole procedure, he believes, will be more transparent and far less bureaucratic with the guidance given to the candidate cities reduced to 350 pages. He pointed out that thanks to the rise in television and sponsorship, the host city in 2024 will receive $1.7 billion. This is largely because in 2014, NBC secured the U.S. television rights through to 2032 for $7.75 billion.

When he was asked whether Los Angeles, the only American city to bid for 2024, had therefore an advantage over its four European rivals, especially since the United States has not hosted the Summer Games since 1996, Bach pointed out that the long-term deal with NBC had been agreed before the candidate cities for 2024 had even been known.

He said that the evaluation commission process would work differently. "It is more a change from examination to a dialogue style, addressing issues where the candidature can be changed so that in 2017 we have the strongest possible candidature."

Asked about the different kinds of the cities among the five candidates, he said that the field consisted of a metropolis, capital cities, and smaller cities. The emphasis will be on the cities showing the IOC the vision for their future. "This is excellently addressed in all five cities. Whichever city is elected will be the result of Olympic Agenda 2020."

He did not agree that there should be a cap on the amount of money spent by the cities because each of the candidates would be starting from a different position, some wanting to use the Games as a catalyst for regeneration, while others would not need any added infrastructure. In addition, he pointed out: "Some countries have a very good volunteer culture while in another country, people have to be paid."

Questioned about the host city contract and the need to have financial guarantees in place, he said that there had to be "a level playing field" with a fair competition between the rivals to deliver on their plan. Bach concluded by saying that the next two years would be spent by the cities on building an "authentic candidature" adding that the need "to demonstrate added value to the city is the real challenge."

** JOHN GOODBODY covered the 2012 Olympics for The Sunday Times, his 12th successive Summer Games and is the author of the audio book A History of the Olympics, read by Barry Davies, the BBC commentator. He was Sports News Correspondent of The Times 1986-2007, for whom he received journalistic awards in all three decades on the paper, including Sports Reporter of The Year in 2001.  

Keywords · Olympics · IOC · Summer Games

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