An organization from Bulgaria has contacted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to campaign for Sofia to host the 2024 Olympic Games, GamesBids.com has exclusively learned.
Though the organization calling itself “NGO Collaboration for Olympic Games, Exploratory Collective Olympic Sofia” says it is in contact with the Bulgarian Olympic Committee (BOC) and seeking a partnership, the BOC has not endorsed the bid. Queries sent to the BOC from GamesBids.com about the potential of a bid have gone unanswered.
Yet the rogue group claims that work is still underway and the leadership plans to travel to IOC headquarters in Lausanne to attempt to confirm the bid.
“We are in the process of facilitating collaboration between the various stakeholders, government, municipality, civil society and the business community toward the Sofia bid,” a representative said in an email.
The Sofia 2024 organization requested a meeting with IOC President Thomas Bach last month to participate in the new invitation phase of the bid process, but according to an email sent by an IOC bid coordinator that has been seen by GamesBids.com, the group was directed to communicate through the BOC as per the IOC bid process.
In a response to the IOC, the Sofia 2024 representative wrote “as you are aware, we are in present negotiations with the BOC in our endeavor to become the official Bulgarian host City.”
“We however feel that, due to the enormity and complexity of the proposed project, input from the President [Bach] would be appropriate.”
In order to proceed and successfully file a bid on behalf of Sofia 2024, the BOC will have to send a nomination letter, along with a (USD) $50,000 fee to the IOC before the September 15 midnight deadline.
In 2011 Las Vegas tried to submit a bid for the 2020 Olympic Games without the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) approval after the USOC decided that it would not pursue a bid for the Games. The IOC rejected that rogue bid since it didn’t come through the proper National Olympic Committee channels.
Sofia bid for the 1992, 1994 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games with little success. During the 2014 campaign the city was left off of the shortlist for failing to meet benchmark standards.
Budapest, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome have already confirmed bids for the 2024 Games.
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.