MONACO (REUTERS, AFP) – The International Olympic Committee on Monday voted to allow the Olympic Games to be hosted by two countries and to add new sports as part of sweeping changes to the world’s biggest sporting event. Here is a summary of the main decisions made and how it could affect the world of sport.
The measures are part of a campaign by IOC president Thomas Bach to make the Summer and Winter Olympics cheaper to stage and more attractive to the public as it battles increased competition for audiences. Bach has proposed 40 reforms, known as Agenda 2020, to be voted on Monday and Tuesday at a special session of the 104 member IOC in Monaco.
Co-hosting of Games:
Future Games can now be hosted by two cities, or two countries for “sustainability” and “geography” reasons. The change is set to reduce the cost of hosting the Games and allow smaller countries to bid. The IOC says it wants more talks with candidate cities on how the event can be made more sustainable. There will also be a new emphasis on using existing and temporary facilities.
More sports, but cap stays for number of athletes:
There were 26 sports at the London Olympics in 2012, but there could be up to 30 sports at future Games. It offers hope to sports like baseball and softball, which have been dropped from the Olympic programme, to find a way back in. New sports hoping to make it to the Games like squash will also welcome the news. But the number of athletes will be capped at 10,500 for the Summer Olympics and 2,900 for the Winter Games, which means that if new sports are added, other sports will have to cut the number of medal events.
New Olympic channel:
An Olympic television channel could be launched as early as 2015 after the IOC gave overwhelming backing to the plan. Estimated to cost about 450 million euros (S$731 million) over seven years, the 24-hour Olympic channel will show sports – but not live coverage of the Games – and plunge into the burgeoning interactive market, seeking to appeal to the world’s youth.
Tougher stance on discrimination:
The IOC, which faced a storm of criticism ahead of the Sochi winter Olympics in Russia this year over a local anti-gay propaganda law, amended its Principle 6, specifically adding sex and sexual orientation to its Olympic Charter. The Charter previously only spelt out discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics and gender. The IOC wants to avoid a repeat of Sochi where the Russian anti-gay propaganda law caused a worldwide furore with gay rights activists saying it was discriminating against homosexuals.