Newly elected International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach is planning to implement his so-called Olympic Agenda 2020, including many sweeping changes, by the end of next year he explained Saturday after holding a four-day “brainstorming” session with the IOC’s Executive Board.
On the agenda could be changes to the Olympic bidding process, and the possible addition of sports to the Tokyo 2020 program he explained.
“These results of this brainstorming meeting will now be forwarded to the IOC session for further debate in Sochi in February where we will have one to one-and-a-half days of general debate,” Bach explained to reporters during a conference call from Switzerland where the meeting took place.
After Sochi, stakeholders will be asked to form working groups and develop specific recommendations that will be proposed to members an extraordinary session that has been scheduled to occur in Monaco from December 6 to 7 in 2014, and hosted by IOC member Prince Albert.
Bach refrained from elaborating on much of what was discussed in the Montreux meeting, instead waiting until he is able to inform the general membership.
“There is a great readiness and even determination for change and for reforms,” he said.
“This is why we think that this Olympic Agenda 2020 needs the effective approval of an extraordinary session and we cannot be satisfied with the approval of the Executive Board alone.”
Since Bach was elected President in September, and as part of his manifesto, he has committed to changing the Olympic bid process by reducing costs and promoting creativity and sustainability. Already at a working session earlier this month he convinced some 2022 Winter Games bidders to develop their bid plans in-house and without leveraging external consultants. Oslo’s bid was the first to announce that it will adopt this strategy.
Stockholm, Krakow, Beijing, Lviv and Almaty have also bid for those Games.
Bach said more constructive discussion took place in Montreux that will further streamline the bid process and lead to changes in Monaco. To get things started, the Executive Board decided to establish a working group on cost management for the Games.
“Because the 2022 Olympic Winter Games Candidatures are already underway we could not wait any longer, we already decided to encourage the bidding cities to make the broadest possible use of temporary and/or dismountable facilities.”
During his candidacy for President, Bach also committed to discuss the reinstatement of member visits to bid cities after they were abolished to fight corruption after the Salt Lake City scandal in 1998.
The meeting also left the doors open for new sports to join the Tokyo 2020 program, good news for the Baseball and Softball Federation and Squash Federation whose sports both lost to Wrestling when the IOC voted to include it during its September session in Buenos Aires.
“There is a chance [a sport could be added] because if everybody agrees then we do not need to apply this seven-year rule and we could take any decision at the end of next year.”
The Executive Board also committed $10 million (USD) to the fight against doping and another $10 million to combat illegal betting and corruption. It approved the inclusion of Sport Climbing, Roller Sports and Skateboarding for demonstration at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics and a feasibility study that will examine an Olympic television channel.
Bach hints at more sports
Thomas Bach, the new chairman of the IOC, arrived in Rome on November 21 to take part in the Congress of the European Olympic Committees, organised by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).
He met Pope Francis and Enrico Letta, the Italian Prime Minister., and in a Q&A session hinted at further changes to the Olympic programme, including the possibility of more than the current 28 sports:
– Mr President, in your programme, you talk about a review of the criteria followed for drafting the Olympic programme. What will the changes be?
“Let’s say that we’ve started to study the possible procedural changes. Two limits are insurmountable – the number of athletes taking part and the minimum number of fixed stadiums required from the cities. The rest is under discussion.”
– Does this mean that there’s the possibility of increasing the number of sports, of going beyond the 28 established by the Olympic Charter?
“Currently, we’re at 28 sports, or better, federations, taking part. Perhaps we won’t have to cancel disciplines to increase and keep the number of athletes fixed but just reduce the quota. First, the concept has to be clarified and then we’ll act. We can go from 26 to 27, 28, 29 or 30 sports. The Charter can also be amended, also removing the limitation of the choice to be made 7 years before. There can be more elasticity. We’ll talk to Ricci Bitti, Chairman of the ASOIF and a very open and constructive man, about it. Perhaps a change can already be made with a view to Tokyo 2020.”