By Liam Morgan |
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has claimed the apparent lack of trust in the organization is the result of media reports and has not contributed to citizens in potential host cities rejecting the idea of staging the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In an interview with CNN Money Switzerland, Bach said money was the reason residents in Sion voted against entering the race for the 2026 Winter Games rather than the image the IOC has following the corruption and doping scandals connected to the event.
He dismissed the notion that a perceived lack of trust in the IOC was a contributing factor.
“I think this discussion took place more in some media than in the population,” he said.
“I’ve seen the polls and we have had contact with the candidature committee and there we were told that it was three topics which played a role: the first one was money, the second was money and the third was money.
“And there, even with respect to money the IOC has a lot to offer because we are contributing to the success of the 2026 Olympic Winter Games with $925 million (£718 million/€800 million).”
The bidding process for the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics has seen two cities – Innsbruck in Austria and Sion – withdraw after losing a referendum.
The IOC have recently admitted that they could have communicated the benefits of hosting the Olympics better to cities interested in hosting, particularly in Sion.
“What is a little bit of pity maybe is that the emotions around the Olympics, the magic of the Olympics Games, the support for the Swiss athletes, that all this did not play a real role,” Bach said on Sion’s referendum defeat.
A plebiscite will also be held on Calgary’s bid in November, with a recent poll revealing 73 percent of those opposed to the candidacy are concerned about costs.
The IOC claim their “New Norm” reforms, unveiled in February, will help reduce spending.
It is claimed that the 118 measures could cut as much as $1 billion (£748 million/€857 million) from the costs of staging a Summer Olympic Games and $500 million (£374 million/€429 million) for the Winter edition.
Bach said last month that they would be happy to have a reduced field for 2026 so cities with little or no chance of winning are not left in the race too long.
Calgary, Sweden’s capital Stockholm, Erzurum in Turkey, Sapporo in Japan and a joint Italian bid including Milan, Turin and Cortina d’Ampezzo are all vying for the right to host the Games, but questions remain over the strength of all five.
It is thought Sapporo are more interested in hosting the Games in 2030 while Stockholm lack support from the Swedish Government.
Mayors involved in the joint Italian effort have been critical of the proposal and Erzurum is considered a risk for security reasons due to its relative proximity to the Syrian border.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.