Brisbane 2032 Olympics almost assured after IOC Executive Board approves the single candidate for election

Australia’s third Olympic Games in Brisbane is now a mere formality away from reality after the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board voted Thursday to approve the single preferred candidate, setting up a rubberstamping by the full membership July 21 in Tokyo.

(Photo: Australian Olympic Committee)
(Photo: Australian Olympic Committee)

IOC President Bach said it wasn’t urgency that compelled the siting the 2032 Games much earlier than the typical seven-year lead time, but instead claimed there was incentive to seize the opportunities available with Australia’s offer.

“All these together made it somehow irresistible for the Future Host Commission as well as for the Executive Board,” Bach said.

“The Brisbane 2032 Olympic project shows how forward-thinking leaders recognize the power of sport as a way to achieve lasting legacies for their communities,” he added.

Under current rules a majority vote by the 100-or-so IOC members is required to confirm an Executive Board nomination for a Games host.  Just two days before the Tokyo Games are set to open, members will receive a presentation from Brisbane 2032 and have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback immediately prior to the final vote.

While receiving a COVID-19 vaccine this week Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk hinted that the jab was required so she, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Brisbane Mayor Adrian Schrinner could travel to Tokyo as part of a delegation for the bid.  The Premier will likely be the signatory on the host contract.

Brisbane is positioned to win a huge majority as it’s extremely rare for members to vote against an Executive Board decision.

Brisbane 2032 was nominated the candidate of choice in February by the IOC’s new Future Host Commission led by Kristin Kloster Aasen.  Replacing the former bid competitions that saw multiple cities face off in final all-members votes, this nomination marks the first time the new targeted process introduced in 2019 is being used to site the Summer Games.

Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Chief John Coates who also serves as IOC Vice President and led the redesign of the new bid process was absent from deliberations Thursday to avoid a conflict of interest.

Rival 2032 bids from Jakarta in Indonesia, Doha in Qatar and jointly between North and South Korea have committed to stand by during due-diligence in the event final negotiations with Brisbane fail or IOC members do not approve the choice of the Queensland capital.  Other projects from India, Germany, Hungary and China have now reset their targets to 2036 or beyond.

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The IOC has received criticism claiming that the new process lacks transparency, with some rivals believing they weren’t given a fair shot at competing – but Bach said Thursday that he disagrees.

“It has been a very transparent procedure,” he claimed.

“It is a proposal in favor of Brisbane and it is a decision in favor to continue the dialogue with the other interested parties.

“Already has a pool of interested parties who want to organize the Games in 2036 or even 2040.  These cities are all still in the process and have confirmed most recently that they want to continue and I don’t think they would be ready to continue if they would be so critical of this procedure.”

The Gabba – Brisbane’s century-old cricket ground – will be redeveloped at a cost of AUD $1 billion (USD $780 million) for the Games to host the opening and closing ceremonies if the bid is successful.

The Games in Queensland are considered a catalyst to the development of needed transportation upgrades in the region, but in accordance with new IOC sustainability rules, more than 80 percent of sport venues are already in place with little new construction required.

The overall cost of operating the Games has been estimated at AUD$4.5 billion (USD$3.49 billion), an amount that expected to be offset by revenues and a contribution from the IOC.  The federal government has promised to cover half of the costs.

Brisbane’s proposed Games dates exactly match those of the Tokyo Games next month running from July 23 to August 8.  If IOC members ratify the Executive Board’s decision, the host city contract will be signed 11 years and 2 days ahead of the opening ceremony.

Australia has hosted the Games in Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.

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.

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