Reporting from SwissTech Convention Center in Lausanne, Switzerland – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a plan that could see both Los Angeles and Paris host the Olympic Games next decade.
The approved proposal by four IOC Vice Presidents that allows the allocation of the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games simultaneously to Los Angeles and Paris, could turn the current race into a high-stakes poker game.
The plan, introduced by IOC Vice President John Coates requires one of the cities to “raise their hand” and accept the 2028 edition, then drop out of the 2024 race allowing the remaining city to host that year instead. Then, a new 2028 Candidature Procedure would be launched so that the volunteering city could apply and be awarded those Games.
A tripartite agreement between LA 2024, Paris 2024 and the IOC would be drawn up so all parties agree to the changes involved in the revised process. The 2028 host city agreement would also require minor modifications.
If a tripartite agreement is reached, the seven-year bid deadline will be waved. If no deal is struck, the election for the 2024 Games will proceed as originally planned.
Both LA and Paris have said they are only focused on 2024 but in recent weeks LA Mayor Eric Garcetti has suggested that his city wants to do whats best for the Olympic movement. Paris says it can’t host in 2028 due to land availability for the Olympic Village.
Coates admitted “we don’t know that one city will agree.”
With a deal in hand, an IOC Evaluation Commission (EC) for 2028 would then be launched and details, including any updates to guarantees, venue availability, budgets and other relevant items would have to be provided by the candidate so the EC can publish an evaluation report.
One issue raised by Coates is that the guarantees and EC report would have to be provided by August 14, just over one month from now, assuming a deal is struck immediately, and 30 days ahead of the September 13 IOC Session in Lima where the election is set to take place. Whether the application by the 2028 applicant could be approved by members at a subsequent session instead was not discussed. It will be a challenge for the two cities to get the relevant government guarantees during a period where many politicians enjoy a summer break.
Bach suggested a deal could be put together quickly, perhaps having all work done by August. He joked that the three would begin over dinner tonight with French and Californian wine.
The tripartite negotiations will be led by the IOC Olympic Games department – with bids individually at first before they join as a group.
Coates said “the cities both welcome the ideas of discussing the simultaneous award,” adding “both cities are keen to collaborate.”
Mayors of LA and Paris join President Bach on stage to celebrate decision for double allocation of Olympic Games 2024 and 2028 pic.twitter.com/mL7svbg7l6
— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) July 11, 2017
He said they could work together to benefit from cost-savings.
The process could be conducted, Coates said, without any changes to the Olympic Charter due to a clause that allows alterations of the bid process due to “exceptional circumstances.”
Long-time IOC member from Canada, lawyer Dick Pound urged caution to the Executive Board suggesting that opening up a 2028 Candidature Procedure could unintentionally leave the door ajar for other cities to apply – he suggest circumventing the process and going straight to the election instead.
Following the announcement Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti raised their arms and celebrated on stage with IOC President Thomas Bach.
In a statement, LA 2024 said “This is a proud day for Los Angeles and for the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in America.”
“We’re thrilled with the IOC’s decision today, which is a major step forward in making LA’s Olympic dream a reality.
“Today, two of the world’s greatest cities, with outstanding but different proposals, stand ready to serve and advance the Olympic and Paralympic movements and their values. We look forward to working with the IOC and Paris in the weeks ahead to turn this golden opportunity into a golden future together.”
During a press briefing following the decision Garcetti spoke with great confidence that both cities would be hosting the Games despite the need to negotiate a tripartite agreement between the stubborn parties.
“We don’t have it worked out sitting here,” he said at the briefing that included both Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Bach.
When asked, both Mayors refused to suggest that they may be leaning toward choosing 2028.
But the confidence and body language at the table suggested an agreement, in principal, could already be in place.