Reporting From Lausanne, Switzerland – In the wake of scandal and high-level resignations, international sport leadership will gather in Lausanne, Switzerland this week to discuss the aftermath and plan the future. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board meeting begins Sunday where they plan to discuss last week’s resignation of SportAccord’s Marius Vizer, President of the umbrella organization that governs international sport federations, and they will also likely discuss FIFA’s President Sepp Blatter’s plans to step down from his role.
Following the Executive Board meeting, on Tuesday the full IOC membership is set to gather for a technical session to review the two bids vying to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Blatter, also an IOC member, has planned not to attend. He and his organization are under fire after several FIFA members were hit with corruption charges as a general assembly was about to begin in Zurich.
The recent events will likely overshadow the scheduled bid city presentations and technical reviews that are now more critical than ever since the IOC Agenda 2020 reforms passed last year. With the number of presentation opportunities reduced as a cost-cutting measure, this week’s presentations by candidates Almaty and Beijing may be the only opportunity for many IOC members to discover the detailed plans each city offers ahead of the scheduled election July 31 in Kuala Lumpur. A report released by the evaluation commission last week reveals important strengths and weaknesses for both bids, illustrating a tight race.
The 2022 race has been very low key since four competitive European cities bailed out, one-by-one, over the past several months. The two remaining Asian cities offer a difficult choice for the IOC and the level of competition has dropped from previous campaigns. Additionally, the implementation of the new “invitation phase” of the bid process introduced by Agenda 2020 has effectively launched the 2024 Summer Games bid months earlier than typically planned and generated headlines to further push Winter Games conversations to the background.
Rome, Boston and Hamburg have already declared their candidacies for the 2024 Games while Paris and Budapest are set to enter to race shortly.
Presentations from Almaty and Beijing are set for Tuesday and further technical meetings will continue on Wednesday.
Prime Minister of Kazakhstan and Almaty 2022 Chair Karim Massimov is expected to lead the Almaty delegation. Almaty Mayor Akhmetzhan Yessimov and Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun will help present on behalf of their respective cities. Each bid will be allotted 90 minutes for their presentation and questions from IOC members.
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.