IOC seeks further reform for Olympic Games bidding

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made further efforts to address the bidding model for the Olympic Games by forming a new working group to tackle potential changes.

The announcement was made yesterday (Wednesday), the second day of Executive Board (EB) meetings that will conclude today. The IOC has seen multiple failed bids during recent competitions for Olympic Games rights and has been seeking to address this subject.

For the Games rights currently on the market, the 2026 winter Olympics, the IOC has been left with just two candidates for the second winter Games running. In January, the IOC said the bids for the 2026 Games reflected the “very positive impact” of the Agenda 2020 reform package after Stockholm-Åre and Milan-Cortina submitted their candidature files.

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 yesterday expressed its belief that the “message of reform” for Olympic bids is now getting across more clearly. The IOC said Agenda 2020 led to an increase in the use of existing and temporary venues by the two candidates, Stockholm-Åre and Milan-Cortina, in their projects – an average of 80 per cent compared to 60 per cent in the two previous host city selection processes.

There was also an average reduction of 75 per cent in the candidature budgets, but IOC president Thomas Bach added: “We have momentum with many cities and NOCs (National Olympic Committees) thinking about candidatures for the Olympic winter Games 2030, but also the Olympic Games 2032.

“On the other hand, we have to acknowledge that times continue to change, and we want to be on top of these developments. This is why we discussed further steps to make the Candidature Process even more flexible, targeted and dialogue-oriented.

“For this purpose, the IOC EB decided to set up a working group with representatives from the five continents, all from outside the IOC Executive Board, as we want to ensure consultation with the membership from the earliest possible stage.”

The working group will have members representing the five continents, led by John Coates, president of the Australian Olympic Committee. He will be joined by Danka Bartekova, representing the athletes and Europe; Lingwei Li, representing Asia; Lydia Nsekera, representing Africa; and Gerardo Werthein, representing the Americas.

The group has been asked to provide a report for the next EB meeting on May 22, so the board can put it forward to the IOC Session in June.

In other news, the EB has approved an increased revenue distribution to NOCs and International Federations (IFs) following the 2018 winter Olympics in PyeongChang. The IOC contributed a record amount of $887m (€789.9m) to the success of the Games, which is $54m more than for Sochi 2014 and does not include the IOC share of the surplus announced last year.

The IOC will reinvest its share of the surplus in Korean sport through the newly formed PyeongChang 2018 Foundation. Building on this, the EB confirmed the increase in revenue distribution to NOCs and IFs for the development of sport and athletes around the world. This revenue distribution represents a total of $430m, an increase of $32m from the amounts related to Sochi 2014.

Bach said: “The financing of these Games was based on the solidarity model, making sure that everybody can also take part in their financial success. We are on track to continue distributing 90 per cent of our revenues per Olympiad to sports worldwide.”