IOC Executives Back Plan To Award Both Paris and LA Olympic Games in 2024 and 2028

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board Friday unanimously supported a working group’s plan to award both the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games to candidates Paris and Los Angeles at the same time this September.  The proposal is expected to gain the membership’s rubber-stamp approval at a full two-day extraordinary IOC Session beginning July 11 in Lausanne, Switzerland, a date already reserved for candidate city briefings

IOC President Thomas Bach in Lausanne June 9, 2017 (IOC Photo)

IOC President Thomas Bach in Lausanne June 9, 2017 (IOC Photo)

The Executive Board meeting in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne, Switzerland focused on a report by the four IOC Vice Presidents who were charged will exploring reforms for the site selection process including changes to the 2024 process and a possible joint-award of those Games with 2028, as well as possible updates to the upcoming 2026 Winter Games bid.

Paris and Los Angeles will both be hosting the Olympic Games for the third time.

IOC President Thomas Bach explained at a press conference that changes to the bid process were necessitated by changes in the world, especially in Europe where cities have been rejecting most plans for Olympic bids.

“They are getting suspicious,” Bach claimed of those against hosting the Games.

“Today if the establishment is united behind one project, people now say there must be something wrong.,” he added, referring to critics’ thoughts on broad government support, opposition support and corporate support behind a project.

“‘These must be about putting our money into their pockets’,” he said they believe.

“The candidature procedure in this world we are living in has become too expensive and too onerous for potential candidate cities and in this way it is producing too many losers.”

No specifics were announced about how the 2024 host city would be determined, which would then relegate the other city to hosting the 2028 Games, but Bach said it was too early to discuss the logistics of the one-time process clarifying that the working group would continue to spend time developing the proposal.

Both cities have said that they are only focused on hosting in 2024, with Paris elaborating that 2028 was not possible because land required for the Olympic Village is only available for 2024.  LA, though still gunning for 2024, has recently softened its position admitting that hosting in 2028 could be a consideration.

Bach insisted that negotiations with the two cities have not taken place, but the IOC is open to it in the future.

Last week LA Mayor Eric Garcetti hinted at concessions he might consider if his city were to host in 2028 instead of 2024 including funding for local youth sport.

IOC Executive Board Meeting June 9, 2017 (IOC Photo)

IOC Executive Board Meeting June 9, 2017 (IOC Photo)

But Bach explained Friday that he didn’t expect the 2028 host to earn any significant concessions for taking the consolation prize.

“The [2028] city would get the right to host the Olympic Games without risk of a defeat in an election procedure,” he said.

“You don’t need to reward somebody if you give them a present.”

“The race for ’24 is going on as shaped and as planned,” Bach added, explaining that it is still an open competition to host in 2024 despite appearances that the only solution is a Paris 2024 and LA 2028 scenario.

“Both cities are open to being approached by the IOC after such a vote [for 2024 host city] and to discuss how to achieve a win-win-win situation.  This is what I am gathering from our conversations.”

Three of five candidates exited the 2024 race early due to cost and risk concerns while four of six cities, all from Europe, left the 2022 Winter Games bid – some for the same reasons.  As a result, the IOC and Bach fear that the availability of capable future candidate cities may be limited without immediate change.

Moving forward, Bach explains that the bidding process will be guided by five new approaches.  The IOC will be proactive in engaging cities that are just beginning to consider bids; the IOC will customize its approach to the needs of the cities; there will be increased involved by the IOC members with bids; there will be increased IOC membership assistance made available to organizing committees at no charge, “they can get all the expertise from the source.”

Bach said that the candidature procedure will be reduced from two years, to only one year in length.

The 2024 race started in September 2015 with a bang as Bach claimed “we are welcoming five outstanding and highly qualified Candidate Cities.”

But a hint of trouble had preceded the campaign launch when Boston was forced to abandon its application due to dismal public support, paving the way for Los Angeles as a replacement entry.

Only weeks later Hamburg narrowly lost a public referendum ending Germany’s bid;  Rome’s campaign lost the Mayor’s support forcing the Italian bid on permanent hiatus; and opposition in Budapest forced a referendum leading local politicians to give up Hungary’s shot at its first Olympic Games.

Friday IOC Executive Board meeting in Olympic Capital Lausanne could change history. But for who? (GamesBids Photo)

Friday’s IOC Executive Board meeting in Olympic Capital Lausanne could mark a turning point for the Olympics (GamesBids Photo)

With only two solid bids remaining, the prospect of a joint-award for 2024 and 2028 earned serious consideration.

Bach said no changes to the Olympic Charter would be necessary to accommodate the joint-award because it was already “flexible.”

On Friday’s announcement, a Paris 2024 statement explained “Paris 2024 welcomes today’s decision by the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee to review bidding processes and also organise an Extraordinary Session of the IOC in Lausanne in July.”

“We believe that the IOC is acting in the best interests of the Olympic Movement and the future of the Games in taking these steps.”

“Paris 2024 remains totally focused on preparing its presentation to the Lausanne meeting where we will have an opportunity to present to all the IOC Members our proposal for centenary Games of passion and purpose.”

Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti and LA 2024 Chief Casey Wasserman released a joint statement on the news the city could host a third Olympic Games.  They said “we welcome the IOC Executive Board’s decision to recognize two excellent bids from two of the world’s greatest cities.”

“With no new permanent venues to build and unwavering public support, Los Angeles is an eternal Olympic city and ideal partner for the IOC.

“We look forward to sharing our unique story with the IOC membership in July and working together to offer the best path forward for our city and the Olympic Movement’s future.”

Whether the IOC membership approves the joint-award plan or not, the host city for the 2024 Olympic Games will be elected September 13 in Lima, Peru.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.