IOC opens door to joint bids and new sports event
Lausanne: Breaking from the tradition of awarding the Olympics only to a single host city, the IOC is opening the door to possible wider bids, including bids from an entire country, joint bids from more than one city and even the possibility of events held in more than one country.
The possibility of new types of bids was among the 40 recommendations released yesterday as part of International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach's reform agenda, his drive to make the bidding process and the games themselves more attractive and less costly.
"We want to create more diversity in the candidatures," Bach told a small group of reporters at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. "There is no one-size-fits-all solution."
Under the proposals, the IOC would allow "the organisation of entire sports and disciplines outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country notably for reasons of geography and sustainability."
That would be a first for the Summer Games. The IOC rules already allow for events to be held in a bordering country for the Winter Games.
Bach's proposals also include scrapping the current limit of 28 sports for the Summer Games to allow for new events to come in while maintaining a limit of 10,500 athletes and 310 medal events. For the Winter Games, the proposed limit is 2,900 athletes and 100 medal events.
The proposals would allow host cities to propose the inclusion of one or more events for their games, a move which would clear the way for baseball and softball to be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Both sports were dropped from the Olympics after the 2008 Beijing Games, but are highly popular in Japan.
The package also includes measures for revamping the bid process to make it more of a partnership with candidates, creating a digital Olympic television channel to promote Olympic sports in the years between the games, and including language on non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the Olympic Charter and host city contract.
The move to change the wording of the IOC's Principle 6 follows the international outcry that erupted before the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi over a Russian law prohibiting gay "propaganda."
The proposed new clause states: "The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.