Belgium’s Pierre-Olivier Beckers has become the latest International Olympic Committee (IOC) member to support calls for a double allocation of the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games to Los Angeles and Paris this year.
Beckers, the Belgian National Olympic Committee President who was elected to the IOC in 2012, also called on more general proposals to reform the bidding process at a “special session” in July.
His words follow speculation that IOC President Thomas Bach is supporting the plan to avoid disappointing either one of the two remaining bidders in the 2024 race, from which Hamburg, Rome and Budapest have all withdrawn.
“That would be a good thing,” he told Francs Jeux.
“Do it now, when we know that there is a crisis to solve this process, and thus to avoid a loser and one of the two cities to say ‘I spent all that for nothing’.
“Confirming the holding of the Games in two extraordinary and emblematic cities that are capable of organizing them in a professional way seems to me extraordinarily positive for the Olympic Movement.
“That would give us time until 2025 to make a thorough reform.”
Beckers joins a select group of IOC members also including Canada’s Richard Pound, Britain’s Adam Pengilly and St Lucia’s Richard Peterkin who have declared at least some degree of public support for the issue.
But many others opposed the idea last month.
Of the three IOC vice-presidents to respond to insidethegames, Australia’s John Coates said he “hasn’t worked out how it would be done.”
Turkey’s Uğur Erdener said that, in his opinion, “it is not feasible at this time.”
China’s Yu Zaiqing claimed it “would need to be discussed at an IOC Session” because the Olympic Charter would require changing.
Others to oppose or raise concerns with the proposal included Norway’s Gerhard Heiberg and Taiwan’s Executive Board member and International Boxing Federation President CK Wu.
Concerns raised included the undemocratic nature of changing the process midway through, as well as the impact on other cities considering a bid for 2028.
insidethegames understands that some of those members initially against the idea are beginning to see its appeal.
A key element for debate concerns how exactly it would be introduced.
The idea is not on the agenda for the IOC Executive Board meeting starting here tomorrow.
It is bound to be discussed on an informal basis, however.
It is thought that some sort of meeting must be held before the scheduled vote at the IOC Session in Lima on September 13 to discuss potential changes to the Olympic Charter.
It was initially seen more likely that the French capital could play host in 2024 while the Californian city would be awarded the later Games.
But both Paris and Los Angeles have repeatedly claimed to be only interested in the 2024 race.
Paris insist they only have planning permission for their proposed Athletes’ Village site in Saint Denis for 2024 while Los Angeles claim they will also have to renegotiate key elements including City Council support.
“We must see if Paris and Los Angeles will agree,” Beckers admitted.
“In both cases, there is today a harmony that allows the candidature to move forward.
“Nothing says this will be there for 2028.”
The Belgian was adamant that fundamental changes are needed.
“Yes, and I’m not the only one [who believes in the need for change],” Beckers added to Francs Jeux.
“The President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, is also convinced.
“We will work on proposals for reform at a special session in July.
“The IOC must take responsibility for improving and streamlining the Games allocation process.
“An application is clearly too expensive – between $30 million and $50 million.
“And if a city is not elected and wants to represent itself four years later, it will still have to spend tens of millions of dollars.
“This discourages people.”
A “special session” is likely to take place around July 11 and 12 in order to coincide with a 2024 Candidate City Briefing scheduled for then in Lausanne.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.