French bid officials hint 2030 Winter Olympics election could be delayed until fall 2024

According to a document released by the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) Tuesday it is possible the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could delay the election of the 2030 Winter Olympics host until fall of 2024.

Chair of IOC Future Host Commission for Winter Games Karl Stoss presents at 141st IOC Session in Mumbai, India 15 October 2023 (Photo: IOC/Greg Martin)
Chair of IOC Future Host Commission for Winter Games Karl Stoss presents at 141st IOC Session in Mumbai, India 15 October 2023 (Photo: IOC/Greg Martin)

In a press handout revealing the draft venue plan for the French Alps 2030 Olympic and Paralympics Games bid, a calendar suggests for the first time “decision planned during the IOC Session which will be held at the start of the Paris 2024 Games or in the fall of 2024.”

Last month International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach received informal approval from members that both the 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympic hosts could be awarded simultaneously at the all-members Session to be held in Paris just days ahead of the opening of the Summer Games in July.

Future Host Commission Chair Karl Stoss confirmed confirmed at the Session held in Mumbai, India that France, Sweden and Switzerland were in dialogue for 2030 and that Salt Lake City was the only bid in the running for 2034.

If France is among the bids chosen for targeted dialogue, a stage of the bid process designed to closely vet candidates and prepare them for the final election ballot, plans for a final vote in Paris might have to change. According to the Olympic Charter host elections cannot take place in the territory of one of the candidates.

Presumably France is counting on being on that ballot and CNOSF officials have addressed the possibility in their document. It is unclear whether the potential fall 2024 date was provided by the IOC.

An IOC Session that was planned to be held in Milan, Italy in 2019 was later moved to Lausanne, Switzerland when Italy became one of the potential candidates on a planned ballot and later won the Milan-Cortina 2026 Games. The Paris Session cannot be relocated because it is attached to the planned 2024 Summer Games.

Being included in targeted dialogue does not guarantee that the bid will be named to the final ballot as IOC Executives can further trim the list any time. It’s possible the decision on when to hold the vote may not happen until a month before the meeting when agendas are typically set, or when a decision is made on whether France will appear on the ballot.

According to IOC regulations an extraordinary Session can be called when a full member vote is required on time-sensitive matters. Such meetings can be arranged virtually to save time, cut costs and reduce the carbon footprints of travel. This is the likely option if France is on the ballot.

The next planned Session of the IOC would not take place until 2025 in Athens, Greece where the main agenda item will be the election of a new IOC President or the extension of Bach’s leadership if members opt to change the Charter and increase the term limit as was discussed last month. Awarding the Games on that date would leave the host less than five years to prepare.

Awarding the 2034 Winter Games would not have to be tied to the 2030 vote and the option for the IOC to elect Salt Lake City (or another bid) during the Paris Session would remain. But doing so may come with risk if the 2030 preferred candidates drop out of the race before the final subsequent vote and Salt Lake City is no longer available to accommodate 2030.

United States officials have offered to host in 2030 if the IOC is unable to find another option.

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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