LAUSANNE: IOC bosses recommended last night that hosting rights for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics be awarded together, virtually assuring that rival bidders Paris and Los Angeles will both host the Games.
The move will not be final until a vote of the International Olympic Committee’s roughly 100 members next month, but that body is seen likely to rubber-stamp last night’s executive committee recommendation.
IOC president Thomas Bach told reporters the proposal had been “unanimously” endorsed by the executive.\ The IOC had a “golden opportunity” with two “great cities” competing for 2024 and did not want to turn either away, he said.
Interest in hosting the Summer Games has faded, with cities increasingly reluctant to take on the vast expense and commit significant taxpayer money.
The Paris and LA bids have both embraced cost efficiencies, vowing to use existing or temporary facilities.
That offered an unprecedented chance to reduce costs and set a new roadmap for organising an Olympics, according to Bach.
Assuming the dual award recommendation is approved at the July 11 session in Lausanne, the body’s main meeting in Lima in September will then choose the host city for 2024 and 2028.
Both Paris and LA have said they are fighting for 2024.
Bach said that if the dual award is approved he hoped to strike “an agreement between the three parties” ahead of the Lima meeting, referring to the cities and the IOC.
Asked about backroom deals or quiet IOC handouts to the city that agrees to wait until 2028, Bach said: “I don’t think you need to reward somebody if you give somebody a present”, insisting that being given 2028 with no competition was a considerable prize.
The question is, do Paris and LA agree?
The French side has held a tougher line, with bid co-president Tony Estanguet insisting Paris “can’t really consider 2028.”
LA, meanwhile, is seen as more open to a deal, especially after its bid chairman Casey Wasserman said this week that “LA 2024 has never been only about LA or 2024”.
When the idea of dual award emerged, LA did not give the IOC a “now or never” ultimatum, Wasserman said.
Despite speculation that LA would be asked to wait, Bach insisted that “the race for ‘24 is going on”, and that neither side had conceded anything.
Both the French and the Americans have indicated they were open to having a discussion once the dual award plan is approved, the IOC chief said.
LA last hosted in 1984 and much of the infrastructure remains in place.
The Californian metropolis has said it will use university residences to house athletes, instead of building an Olympic village.
LA also says it has secured $5.3billion (4.7b euros) in private funding, which could set a new paradigm and spearhead a pivot away from the reliance on public funds.