BERLIN (Reuters) - When the International Olympic Committee completes its Executive Board meeting in Lausanne on Friday, things will likely never be the same in the Olympic world.
The board will hear a report by the four IOC vice presidents on the possibility of awarding two summer Olympic Games at the same time and will make a recommendation to be voted on before the 2024 Games election on Sept. 13.
With only Los Angeles and Paris left in the race for the 2024 Olympics after four other cities pulled out over cost and size concerns, the IOC decided to reform the bidding process to make it more attractive to prospective hosts.
What was once perceived as the hottest of sports properties is now seen by many cities as a liability that can potentially drag an entire country’s economy down.
Rome, Budapest, Hamburg and Boston also thought along those lines before pulling the plug on their bids.
IOC President Thomas Bach said the bid process was creating “too many losers”, with cities that lost out in an IOC vote hesitant to try again.
Both the cost for bidding, which can reach 80 million euros (about $90 million) or even more, as well as the financial demands of the multi-billion dollar Games are deterring factors.
“The (bidding) process is too expensive and perfectionist,” Bach said this week.
“It does not work any more in many western countries. So we need to change something. It is about reducing costs.”
What the IOC’s widely-expected recommendation practically means is that the two cities left in bidding process — LA and Paris — will share the next two summer Games between them. What will be left to decide is in which order.
Sources close to the process said the IOC Executive Board was likely to decide on the general process of awarding two Games and possibly calling for a full session in July, when the two cities will make a scheduled presentation to the members for the penultimate time before the vote in Lima in September.
At such a session, members could then vote on a more concrete proposal before heading to Lima two months later.
“It makes sense. It is difficult to find two better cities in the world to host the Olympics,” an Olympic insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. “Are you prepared to lose one of them?”
Paris appears to have the edge for 2024, having bid three times without success and with its plans needing government support, compared to the privately-funded American bid.
Both cities have insisted their bids were only for 2024, not 2028, but Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti hinted earlier this month his city could live with hosting the Games in 2028.
“They (IOC) have asked us to think about – both Paris and us – what would it take for us to consider one of us going first and the other going second,” Garcetti said earlier this month.
He said getting to host any Olympics would be a success.
“Given some of the challenges we face globally right now with leadership, that would be, I think, quite a coup and something for us all to celebrate.”
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Editing by Sudipto Ganguly