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Bach praises Queensland Olympic bid following IOC visit

A delegation from the Australian proposal to host the 2023 Summer Olympic Games visited the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne yesterday (Tuesday) to discuss its potential bid, winning praise from the body’s president, Thomas Bach.

“We have seen further progress here today when the project has been presented and we are as impressed, at least as impressed, by this as by the political and cross-party support the project enjoys,” said Bach. “This is not only impressive but at this early stage, innovative, to have all parties united behind this Olympic project and behind sport in Australia.”

The traveling delegation, which included Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Australian Olympic Committee chairman John Coates, presented its case for hosting an innovative state-wide Olympics to the IOC, following the announcement that, if successful, the city of Brisbane would receive upgraded transport links to the north of the state and either a new multi-sport venue or radical redevelopments of the famous Woolloongabba stadium. Coates told the IOC that the city would have a 60,000-capacity stadium in place by the time of the Games. The Gabba’s current maximum capacity is 42,000.

The bid was initially focussed on Brisbane only, but earlier this year, the AOC’s chief executive, Matt Carroll, told SportBusiness that he was keen to pursue a state-wide bid, encouraging Palaszczuk to think about a Queensland bid, not just a Brisbane one. In July, Palaszczuk confirmed she was committed to the innovative state-wide Olympics.

The Queensland proposal is still officially in the assessment stage, with the visit also presenting an opportunity for the IOC to answer questions from the bid committee about the kind of Olympics bid it is looking for in 2032. The state taskforce, which was established at a cost of A$10m (£5.6m/$6.8m) is expected to complete its assessment by the end of this year, after which Palaszczuk, Coates and the other relevant figures will decide whether to press ahead with a bid.

Bach also confirmed yesterday that the IOC will not wait until 2025 to confirm the host for the 2032 Games, but instead that a decision will be taken once all bid projects are “mature and we can have full confidence”. He said he expects this to be in advance of the previously stated date of 2025.

The 2032 Olympics looks set to be another Games for the wider Asia-Pacific region, with Indonesia and India so far the two confirmed bidders. Alongside them, a historic joint bid from North and South Korea is expected, as well as another potential Chinese proposal, with the country’s second city, Shanghai, currently undertaking a feasibility study. 

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