MONACO (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will instantly review the Pyeongchang 2018 winter Olympics and the Tokyo 2020 summer Games if changes are approved at the session next week, President Thomas Bach said on Saturday.
The IOC has drawn up 40 recommendations — called Agenda 2020 — which present the biggest changes to the Olympic movement for decades and its session will vote on each of them, starting on Monday in Monaco.
Tokyo has long been eager to get baseball and softball added to its program with the IOC proposing quicker changes to the sports at the Games, allowing non-Olympic sports to enter faster than the normal seven-year waiting period.
For Pyeongchang, facing several venue issues and a domestic row over the budget, a project review would deal with these issues and the possible relocation of some sports to different venues than the ones initially planned.
“We are in discussions with both organizing committees about the follow-up on the potential opportunities which the Olympic Agenda 2020 would offer to them,” Bach told reporters.
“If the changes (Agenda 2020) would be approved and more flexibility would be possible then we will start the implementation for this right after the approval.”
Among the changes in Agenda 2020 are reducing the cost of hosting the Games by using existing venues rather than building new ones, the use of facilities in neighboring countries if it makes financial and geographical sense and the inclusion of more sports.
“There will be project reviews in both organizing cities (Tokyo and Pyeongchang) in January and February to follow up on this and see what the Olympic Agenda 2020 means for their organization of the Games,” said German Bach, who took over the IOC in 2013.
“There of course can also be venue changes being discussed if such venue changes lead to more sustainability and to less expenses. This...can include venue changes, this can lead to lesser capacities with regard to different venues.”
The South Korean city has been hit by an ongoing dispute over finances between the province and the central government and what share each will pay for the construction of a stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies.
New Pyeongchang Games chief Cho Yang-ho, who took over in July, has asked for time to be briefed on the details of the Games plan project.
“We have been discussing also the (Pyeongchang) budget of course,” said Bach. “We have a new chairman of the organizing committee and chairman Cho has the full confidence of the IOC Executive Board.
“He has asked for some time after he took over in order to address the different issues including the budget. The Executive Board granted him this time.
“In order to give him this time it is one of the reasons we postponed the coordination commission visit from November to March,” Bach added.
Editing by Ed Osmond