POSTED: June 5th 2017

IOC might be changing the direction of Olympic bids once and for all

IOC President Thomas Bach will speak to the press from the IOC Museum on Friday © SFC
IOC President Thomas Bach will speak to the press from the IOC Museum on Friday © SFC

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) This week the IOC Executive Board will be studying proposals for 2024 and 2028 from a special working group that will greatly impact these next few campaigns for the Olympic Games. Friday the meeting will take place at the current IOC headquarters in Pully and could be groundbreaking as to the future of bidding to host the Olympic Games.

Los Angeles and Paris are the two cities that the IOC would like to nail down for two editions.

IOC President Thomas Bach entrusted four vice-presidents, John D. Coates, AC (AUS),
Zaiqing Yu (CHN), Juan Antonio Samaranch (ESP), and Prof. Uğur Erdener (TUR) to create a study group to make recommendations to the EB about how to make the candidature procedure more proactive, more collaborative and less expensive in the future.

The main focus will be on the possibility of allocating the 2024 and 2028 Games to the two contenders Los Angeles and Paris and their report will be delivered to the EB.  Two solid cities that have both hosted the Games before and come with lots of promise.

The second will be a report on how to reform the winter Olympic candidature for the event in the year 2026, the Games that will come after Beijing 2022.

As noted previously on, Hein Verbruggen, IOC Honorary Member, recommends that the IOC turn the tables and instead choose their own pick of candidates and then consequently rate them as candidates A and B. He advises a plan so that bidding cities are relieved of expensive bidding and lobbying campaigns. Then the IOC and the city in question could work together to fine tune the bid.

IOC President Bach alluded as well to this same idea in an interview this weekend on the sidelines of the Tennis Table World Cup being held in Dusseldorf with Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. He further mentioned the idea that the IOC could play a bigger more hands on role in the bidding process.

Bach said in the interview, "If we learn of considerations, be it in a city, in a region, or in a National Olympic Committee, such a step would be a very appropriate instrument. If the dialogue starts early, a lot can be developed together. The cities could benefit from our know-how and should not have a host of consultants, which leads to ever-increasing projects."

Implementing such a new plan would redefine the working relationship between the IOC and any potential bid city and forge a closer more fine-tuned development of a Games offer. But it would dramatically change the system that is in place now. Each bid that goes through all the phases of the bid process brings onboard a host of consultants specialized in various sectors to help them perfect their proposal to the IOC.

Overall this would be more productive for the IOC and scale down the obligations for the bid city.

If the IOC is so involved with the process from the get go would there be a need for an Evaluation Commission since they are working more in partnership with the bid? This would be another huge savings budgetwise for the IOC in the long run. The IOC has their own collection of sports specialists and could call in any expert needed.

After all they must protect and grow the Olympic brand it makes more sense to turn this more into a partnership than a bid campaign. With more and more cities falling out of campaigns, Boston, Rome, Hamburg and even Budapest all peeled away from this 2024 race leaving only Los Angeles and Paris.

Reading between the lines this seems to be what could potentially come out of this process.

This would be a more corporate focused approach to the Olympic ideal and open the door for more opportunity and the sponsors, who fund the Movement, might be even more engaged in the process.

On another note, Bach also revealed that he is not averse to e-sports, "If existing sports are practiced virtually in the E-Sport, this can be very interesting and should be something that we should think about. For it can be a way to bring the young people to the sport in the classical sense. If the virtual game encourages a teenager to go out with friends in the evening, then everything is good."

We will see what the EB decides after discussions this week and if the IOC decides to lay the groundwork for a new chart for the future.   

**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-six years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.

Keywords · Olympics · Thomas Bach · IOC

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