IOC to change process of Olympic bid races, host elections

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IOC to change process of Olympic bid races, host elections
International Olympic Committee, IOC, President Thomas Bach from Germany, left, speaks with Australian IOC member John Coates, right, during the 134th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), at the SwissTech Convention Centre, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Olympics hosted in multiple cities or countries. Bidders pro-actively invited. Candidates recommended with possibly no opponents.

Radical changes in how and when Olympic hosts are picked were voted in Wednesday as the International Olympic Committee looks to avoid negative headlines and angering local taxpayers following referendum losses and excessive spending on white elephant venues.

Stung by recent public votes in Europe and Canada, the IOC agreed that future bidders could need to win a referendum before entering a race.

“We cannot, I suggest, continue to be damaged as we have in the past,” veteran IOC member John Coates said, presenting reforms already tested in the 2026 Winter Games contest.

On Monday, Milan-Cortina in northern Italy beat Stockholm-Are, which tied Sweden to Latvia’s bobsled track, in a campaign where political support was often shaky.

Future Olympic bidders will be required to use existing and temporary venues and infrastructure, while being steered away from costly construction projects.

A new, flexible campaign timetable will end the Olympic Charter rule requiring hosts to be voted on seven years in advance of a Summer or Winter Games. That rule already had to be waived in 2017, allowing Los Angeles to be picked 11 years in advance of the 2028 Summer Games.

There might not even be an election at all.

A key part of the new process is creating new Olympic panels — one each for Summer and Winter Games — which will recommend one or more candidates for an election.

It chimes with IOC President Thomas Bach’s wish to avoid “too many losers” — a phrase first heard ahead of the 2024 race. Paris got the 2024 Games, while Los Angeles got 2028.

The new panels will be empowered to have “permanent ongoing dialogue” with potential bidders and pro-actively approach preferred hosts.

The IOC’s reformed approach to bidding followed Bach’s election in September 2013 and after of Russia’s 1 billion spending on venues, infrastructure and budget overruns for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

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