Interviewed today on the five confirmed city bids for hosting the Summer Olympic
Games of 2024 – Budapest, Hamburg, Los Angeles Paris, Rome – Thomas Bach was
uninhibited in his optimism.
In response to a question from Associated Press, on whether there is to be an
expenditure cap both on bidding and the administration of the Games, Bach asserted:
“Every Organising Committee can be confident to have a profit.”
The President is anxious to demonstrate to the Olympic Movement that the 40
approved principles from last December’s Extraordinary Session at Monte Carlo,
embraced by the catchphrase Agenda 2020, will prove to be a cornerstone for future
economic equilibrium and sustained cultural and ethical city lifestyle.
Answering AP, Bach said that financial caps, in either case, were “not
enforceable because all cities have different starting positions”. Some acceptable
venues would already be existing, some facilities would be volunteered, others had to
be financed. In administration of a Games, there will be a greater diversity,
flexibility, hosting a Games would be a catalyst, there would be varying levels of
Asked from Italy whether he had expected more than five bids – with the
relaxation of IOC contract demands – and whether mass migration of refugees posed
a problem (nine years hence), Bach was diplomatic.
No, he said, the candidate list was predictable because it was a competition
about city quality, while the current humanitarian challenge in Europe was beyond
IOC influence and within the realm of the European Union: that governments had to
find the solution which would enable refugees the possibility to live at home “in
peace and prosperity”. The IOC had, he emphasised, donated a $2 million towards a
L’Equipe (France) wanted to know about dates/programme scheduling.
Because Agenda 2020 allowed flexibility, Bach said, there might be ideas from cities
“which would be difficult to reject”, though in two years’ time at the 2017 election in
Lima, “a particular minimum in a project might not be available”. The IOC could not
necessarily determine the parameters.
A British website queried the capacity of the Evaluation Commission. This
would adjust, Bach thought, from an examination style to a dialogue style, addressing
solutions to issues that would ensure strong candidature. ARD (TV, Germany)
wondered why there had not been a smaller city bidding in the light of relaxed
regulations. The field of five had diverse cities, Bach suggested, and if relaxations
were embraced, the election would demonstrate the value of these changes.
Predictably, Los Angeles was as ever worried about taxpayers’ risk? The
President emphasised the $1.7b guaranteed income now available to candidates and it
was up to cities to plan their project with their own budget when presented. Reuters
questioned if there was significance in the absence of an Asian candidate – the
answer, that this was not important because the bidding process was “ever more
The German Bild newspaper was bothered about simultaneous bids for the
Olympics and the European Football Championships of 2024. Bach considered that
with the prevalence of acceptable German stadiums and robust German sports
experience, the capacity to handle both without the need for major football
infrastructure would be competent. It was noted that there was no bid from either
Doha, Qatar, previous frustrated city, nor Baku, recent host of an inaugural European
Games. Doha’s decision, presumably strategic, was theirs, while Baku had
concluded that the city needed further consideration before a bid.
The President was at pains to stress the IOC’s shift in focus under its
broadening of administrative criteria for hosting: attention to liberated sexual
orientation, attention to local labour laws and contractual obligations, less
bureaucracy and paperwork, more services provided by the IOC, stricter ethical
control of consultants employed by bid cities, sustainability/legacy a top priority. “I
think all these are being achieved,” the President said.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Sport Intern.