Sun, Jun 11, 2017 - Page 11 News List

IOC proposes selection of 2024, 2028 hosts this year

AP, LAUSANNE, Switzerland

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has formally proposed picking the 2024 and 2028 Olympic hosts at the same time this year.

Los Angeles and Paris now seem certain to both be awarded a Summer Games in September, as the committee tries to safeguard its signature event for the next decade.

“This represents a golden opportunity for the Olympic Games and for the IOC,” IOC president Thomas Bach said at a news conference on Friday after an executive board meeting.

The widely expected proposal from the board did not address which city would go first and stage the 2024 Olympics.

A meeting of the full committee from July 11 to July 12 in Lausanne would be asked to ratify the board’s request. The 95-strong membership seems unlikely to block a policy that could help define Bach’s eight-year first presidential term at its midpoint.

A final vote to confirm the hosting order should take place on Sept. 13 in Lima at the regularly scheduled IOC annual meeting.

Paris and Los Angeles bid leaders issued statements welcoming the IOC board decision, and could yet agree how to split the Games in the coming weeks.

Bach said there had been talks, but not negotiations, with officials from Los Angeles and Paris, which he described as “two such great cities, two such great countries, having two candidatures who are really enthusiastic.”

Paris has emerged as the favorite for 2024, and bid leaders insist they can focus only on that option.

Public comments from Los Angeles bid leaders have been more flexible and acknowledged talks to explore who could be persuaded to accept 2028.

Comments by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti last week were interpreted as suggesting that his city could look for IOC support for youth sports programs if it agreed to wait four more years to host.

However, Bach on Friday said there should be no inducements to take the 2028 option.

“I don’t think you need to reward somebody if you give somebody a present,” Bach said. “This would put the [2028] city on an equal basis with the 2024 city.”

“This city would get the right to host the Olympic Games without the risk of a defeat in an election procedure,” he added.

Bach has driven the 2024-2028 idea since December last year, although he asked his four vice presidents to explore and draft a proposal for Friday’s meeting.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he would travel to the Olympic capital on July 11 and support the Paris lobbying effort.

Both cities are to present their projects to IOC members that day.

Choosing both cities could give the Olympics clarity and stability after more than a decade of excessive spending and cost overruns by Olympic host cities. That has fueled local residents to sink potential bids in European countries and the US.

The image problem for Olympic bidding and hosting was partly created by Russia spending a reported US$51 billion on projects linked to the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

Also on Friday, ways to improve the upcoming 2026 Winter Games bidding and cut costs were discussed. Potential bidders include Sion, Switzerland, and previous hosts Calgary, Canada, and Innsbruck, Austria.

The IOC would be more proactive and helpful with cities considering a bid, Bach said.

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