From IOC Executive Board Meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland – First it was Davos, Switzerland’s nomination for the 2022 Olympic Games that lost a plebiscite and the chance to bid. Then it was Munich, runner-up for the 2018 Games and odds-on favourite for 2022 before it lost a bid-stopping referendum. Then, after submitting an application, Stockholm pulled out its bid due to financial fears.
Later, the Krakow Mayor surprisingly called a referendum in the Polish city that was easily defeated – and so then, was the bid. And as much as Ukraine could try to hold on – Lviv’s bid had to be dropped amid deteriorating conditions in the country.
Now only Almaty, Beijing and Oslo remain to bid for the Games – but Oslo might also be on its way out if the government denies funding for the bid, as it is expected to do in November. That would leave two bids that arguably wouldn’t measure up to their former rivals.
And now – the International Olympic Committee (IOC) admits that it’s all their fault.
The IOC’s Executive Director Gilbert Felli explained it all Monday.
“Who is advising the cities; outside advisors. People are saying to the cities ‘you know if you don’t do that the IOC members will not support you,’ so then you have a perception of the IOC given by some outsiders and not by the IOC itself,” he said
“So in the communications, and that’s the lesson from this campaign here, we lost good cities because of the bad perception of the IOC.
“So we have to learn our lesson and the ones to blame is the IOC.”
Felli went on to explain that desires for compact venue plans and asking too many questions about capital infrastructure costs have all led to the false perception that the Games are too expensive and out of reach for most cities.
“We ask questions about the investments of the countries and often the cities … believe the IOC will say ‘oh, we’ll give the Games to the ones who spend the most money’”
“So what the solution we are for is first of all to ask less questions on the cost of this infrastructure which are not linked with the Games and concentrate on only really what is necessary for the Games, so then already there when numbers are coming out they will be less afraid of numbers.”
“We are thinking about how to raise questions to the cities, thinking of the way they should answer to us so then at least we don’t go in the wrong direction by people who don’t understand and just read the numbers and make it as an issue.”
IOC President Thomas Bach has launched his “Agenda 2020”, a project to review and seek public input on a wide array of Olympic topics. As part of this initiative, the bid process will be reviewed and could be overhauled.
Felli suggests that in the future the IOC have better communications with the bid cities and provide assistance to them early in the campaigns.
But for now – Bach commended the three shortlisted cities for creating their own concepts.
An IOC statement said “each city was encouraged to produce a bid best suited to their own unique circumstances, with plans that reflect their own specific vision for how the Games can benefit their cities and regions and ensure positive, sustainable legacies for their populations.”