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IOC revamps Olympic bid process as USOC seeks Boston 2024 replacement

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has unveiled a substantially revised bid process for the 2024 Olympics, as the US Olympic Committee (USOC) stated it has commenced talks with Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. over stepping in as its new candidate for the summer Games.

The IOC unveiled the changes at its general assembly yesterday (Sunday), with the cut-down phase eliminated in a decision that is set to see bid cities battle it out over a two-year global campaign.

Under the IOC’s original scheme, contenders declaring by September 15 would have been listed as ‘applicant cities’ until April or May 2016. At that point, the IOC executive would have decided on a short list of official ‘candidate cities,’ with the possibility of cutting one or more from the field.

Under the new system, the cities will present their bids to the IOC in three separate stages. These will encompass overall vision from September to May 2016, legal guarantees and venue funding from May 2016 to December 2016, and games delivery and venue legacy from December 2017 to Sept. 2017.

Member visits to bid cities will remain prohibited in the wake of the bid scandal for the 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. However, an IOC evaluation commission will continue to visit the cities and produce an assessment report.

The decision from the IOC follows the difficult bid process for the 2022 winter Games which saw Beijing emerge victorious on Friday. That process saw many potential applicants fall by the wayside at an early stage. Oslo withdrew its bid for the 2022 Games in October, leaving only Beijing and Almaty to battle it out for the rights.

Oslo was the latest in a long line of cities to ditch a bid, following Stockholm in Sweden, Krakow in Poland and Lviv in Ukraine. Before that, bids from St. Moritz in Switzerland and Munich in Germany were scrapped after public referendums. Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome have already declared their candidacies for the 2024 Olympics, with the USOC set to decide on a replacement for Boston and the likes of Baku and Toronto linked with late entries ahead of next month’s deadline.

Commenting on the new process, Christophe Dubi (pictured), the IOC's executive director of the Olympic Games, told the Associated Press news agency: “If it's a flood (of finalists), it's a good problem to have. We could not really use the same cut as we used in the past. It would be unfair to say there will be a cut, an artificial one. We have to change the way we do things.”

He added: “On September 15, the cities will become candidates and can go to the end. The intention is to go with all the cities. This gives greater flexibility.”

Meanwhile, USOC chairman Larry Probst said a decision will be made by the end of August on which of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. will replace Boston as the US candidate for the 2024 Games.

“We've got to reconnect with the three cities that were part of the group of finalists,” Probst said. “We've got to determine what their level of interest is in pursuing a bid and take that feedback and gather our board together and discuss that feedback with our board and make a decision. That will all happen in the month of August. We will have resolved this by the end of the month.”

Probst said numerous IOC members spoke to him during the IOC’s meetings in Kuala Lumpur last week about Boston’s withdrawal, which was confirmed on July 27. He said: “When we chose Boston, we thought that it was going to be a strong bid. But at the end of the day we couldn't get the support of the local community. If you can't get the public to support a bid, you're not going to win. So we had to do what we thought was in the best interests of the USOC.”

Probst has played down the possibility of a joint bid between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but hasn’t ruled it out completely. “I think that would be complicated – not impossible, but complicated,” he added.