International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach’s visionary roadmap for the Olympic movement came one step closer Tuesday with the public release of 40 recommendations that will help evolve his organization.
Bach’s so-called “Agenda 2020” will be debated and ratified at an all-members session in Monaco December 8th and 9th, and the results released today are the result of a year of work among specially assigned groups of experts and input from the general public.
Last month Bach received presentations from 14 working groups based on 1,200 ideas coming from 270 direct contributions, with more than 40,000 submissions from members of the public.
“These 40 recommendations are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle,” Bach said. “When you put them together, a picture emerges that shows the IOC safeguarding the uniqueness of the Olympic Games and strengthening sport in society.”
The roadmap will frame Bach’s tenure as IOC President over at least eight and as many as 12 years, and its timing is critical. The IOC has been struggling through its selection process for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games with four European applicants of six in total dropping their bids for various socio-economic reasons. The IOC has taken direct blame for this citing their inability to effectively communicate the costs and processes of hosting the Games to bid cities and the general public.
With a critical 2024 Summer Olympic bid race starting next year, the IOC hopes new changes will turn things around quickly.
“Over the past year many people have asked me why there is a desire to make changes. After all, they say, the Olympic Games, the IOC, and the Olympic Movement have enjoyed many successes and we are in a very good position,” said Bach.
“My answer is that we are now in the position to drive change ourselves rather than being driven. We have to take leadership with Olympic Agenda 2020. We have the opportunity, and we must seize the moment – now is the time for change.”
The bid process received the most atttention from Agenda 2020 – the first three recommendations centred aroud host city bids. In a change from past processes, if approved the IOC would allow some sports or disciplines to be competed outside of the host country and in some cases outside the country – this to help promote sustainability and reduce costs.
The IOC has also proposed adding an “invitation phase” to the process and offer help to the cities that want to host. To reduce bidding costs the IOC would limit the number of international presentations required of the bid cities and would pay for certain travel arrangements for key bid team members.
Also tables will be the inclusion of an “Athletes’ Experience” criteria for the bid and use better language to clarify the various costs of hosting the Games by differentiating long-terms costs and expenses.
The IOC will create and monitor a registry of consultants and lobbyists eligible to work for bid cities and those registered will agree to a code of conduct.
The first three recommendations that speak to changes around the bid process are: (full text below as released Tuesday by IOC)
Recommendation 1:Introduce a new philosophy: the IOC to invite potential candidate cities to present anOlympic project that best matches their sports, economic, social and environmental longtermplanning needs.1. The IOC to introduce an assistance phase during which cities considering a bid will be advisedby the IOC about bid procedures, core Games requirements and how previous cities haveensured positive bid and Games legacies.2. The IOC to actively promote the maximum use of existing facilities and the use of temporaryand demountable venues.3. The IOC to allow, for the Olympic Games, the organisation of preliminary competitions outsidethe host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country, notably for reasons ofsustainability.4. The IOC to allow, for the Olympic Games, the organisation of entire sports or disciplines outsidethe host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country notably for reasons of geographyand sustainability.5. The IOC to include in the host city contract clauses with regard to Fundamental Principle 6 ofthe Olympic Charter as well as to environmental and labour-related matters.6. The IOC to make the Host City Contract (HCC) public.7. The HCC to include details of the IOC’s financial contribution to the OCOG8. Respect third-party legal interests by making contractual elements available on an “inconfidence”basis.9. The IOC to accept other signatories to the HCC than the host city and the NOC, in line with thelocal context.10. The IOC to provide the HCC at the outset of a given bid process.Recommendation 2:The report of the Evaluation Commission to present a more explicit risk and opportunityassessment with a strong focus on sustainability and legacy.1. Introduce into the existing 14 Candidate City evaluation criteria a new criterion entitled:The Athletes’ Experience.2. The IOC to consider as positive aspects for a bid: the maximum use of existing facilities and theuse of temporary and demountable venues where no long-term venue legacy need exists orcan be justified.3. The IOC, in collaboration with Olympic Movement stakeholders, to define core requirements forhosting the Olympic Games. The field of play for the athletes to always be state-of-the-art for allcompetitions and to form part of the core requirements.4. The IOC to clarify the elements for the two different budgets related to the organisation of theOlympic Games: long-term investment in infrastructure and return on such investment on theone hand, and the operational budget on the other hand. Furthermore, the IOC contribution tothe Games to be further communicated and promoted.5. The Candidate City Briefing to include an in-camera discussion between the IOC members andthe IOC Evaluation Commission.6. The Commission to benefit from third-party, independent advice in such areas as social,economic and political conditions, with a special focus on sustainability and legacy.Recommendation 3:The IOC to further assist Candidate Cities and reduce the cost of bidding.1. The Candidate Cities to be allowed to attend and make presentations only to:• IOC members during the Candidate City Briefing,• ASOIF/AIOWF respectively. This presentation may be combined with the Candidate CityBriefing,• ANOC General Assembly preceding the vote,• IOC Session at which the host city is elected.2. The IOC to bear the following costs:• costs incurred in relation to the visit of the IOC Evaluation Commission,• travel and accommodation for six accredited delegates for the Candidate City Briefing toIOC Members in Lausanne,• travel and accommodation for six accredited delegates for the Candidate City briefing to theASOIF/AIOWF respectively,• travel and accommodation for six accredited delegates for the ANOC General Assembly,• travel and accommodation for 12 accredited delegates for the IOC Session at which thehost city is elected.3. Publication of the Candidature File to be in electronic format only.4. The IOC to create and monitor a register of consultants/lobbyists eligible to work for a bid city.Formal acceptance of the IOC Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct by suchconsultants/lobbyists as a prerequisite for listing in the register.5. The IOC to give access to bid cities, upon their request, to the Olympic Channel, if the creationof such Channel is approved.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com 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.