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IOC outlines further reform for Olympic Games bidding

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved its latest set of major reforms to the Olympic Games bidding process, including the proposed introduction of events across multiple cities, countries or regions and more flexibility in the traditional seven-year window for electing hosts.

The proposals were submitted during the IOC’s Executive Board meeting in Lausanne yesterday (Wednesday) by the Working Group for Future Games Elections, which was formed at the previous EB meeting in March to consider future Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games (YOG) elections.

The latest changes, which are set to be further developed for discussion and presentation at next month’s IOC Session, came as IOC president Thomas Bach repeated his recent mantra that the traditional bidding system produces “too many losers”.

The new principles aim to provide additional flexibility regarding potential Games hosts, the location of Games venues and the procedure leading to the election of the hosts. They follow the key principles of sustainability, legacy and cost reduction promoted by Bach’s Olympic Agenda 2020 reform plan.

Under the proposed key changes, the IOC outlined that ‘host’ will not necessarily refer to a single city, but can also refer to multiple cities, regions or countries. It added that election timings will be flexible and adjusted to the “context and needs” of a particular Games.

For the Games rights currently on the market, the 2026 winter Olympics, the host is set to be elected at the IOC Session on June 26, with the IOC having been left with just two candidates for the second winter Games running.

Stockholm-Åre and Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo are the two bidders, however the process up to that point saw multiple contenders exit the race. The Canadian city of Calgary became the final drop-out in November, but it was preceded by failed bids in the likes of Graz, Austria and Sion, Switzerland.

The IOC also said that it would seek to establish a “permanent, ongoing dialogue” to explore interest among cities/regions/countries and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to host the Olympic Games and YOG.

With this in mind it will look to create two Future Host Commissions (Summer/Winter) – in lieu of Evaluation Commissions – to oversee interest in hosting future Games, and report to the EB. This is designed to give the IOC Session more influence, as IOC members will be involved from the very beginning of the dialogue.

The Summer Commission will have up to 10 representatives, while the Winter Commission will have up to eight. Based on input from the Commissions, the EB will set up a strategic framework for host elections for specific Games editions.

Bach said: “With Olympic Agenda 2020, we revolutionised the Candidature Process. Now we have been looking into the evolution of this revolution. Based on the analysis that at this moment we have a momentum for candidatures for the Olympic Winter Games 2030, but also the Olympic Games 2032 and even some approaches with regard to the Games in 2034 and 2036, the Working Group has analysed the advantages and challenges of the reasoned procedures.”

Read this: Dropouts from 2026 winter Olympics bidding race shows impact of IOC reforms is yet to hit the public

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