IOC set to vote for change

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Published: Sunday 7th December 2014 by The News Editor

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The International Olympic Committee is set to bring in the biggest shake-up of the Games since 1999 when a raft of new proposals are put to the vote.

The IOC session in Monaco is expected to agree to scrap the current limit of 28 sports in the summer Olympics but maintain a maximum number of athletes at 10,500 – a decision which will put pressure on some of the bigger sports such as swimming and athletics to reduce the number of events.

There are also proposals to make bidding to host Games more attractive and less costly – something that was brought sharply into focus when it was announced only Beijing and Almaty are bidding for host the 2022 winter Olympics.

The proposals to be voted on during the session on Monday and Tuesday are contained within the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations being put forward by IOC president Thomas Bach.

There could be opposition to some measures however – senior IOC members believe there could be calls to reintroduce visits by members to bidding cities. These were banned following the Salt Lake City corruption scandal in 1999, the last time the IOC brought in such significant changes.

The decision by Bach to maintain an age limit of 70 for IOC members – with a few limited exceptions permitted – may also provoke opposition.

In February, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is also an IOC member, called the limit “discrimination”.

Blatter, 78, said then: “Imposing an age limit is an act of discrimination. What needs to be changed can be done by a democratic way.

“Simply do not elect a member not because of age but because they are not able to do the work. It is not normal to impose age limits.”

Changes to IOC bidding rules could also make it easier for countries in very hot climates to win the right to host the summer Games, by allowing it to be staged at different times of year to the traditional July/August slot, and with more flexibility in putting on some events in a different city or even different country.

If passed, the new rules mean the contest for the 2024 Olympics could feature two cities from the Middle East including Qatar capital Doha.

IOC member Prince Feisal Al Hussein, from Jordan, said last month he expects one or two bids from the Middle East for 2024.

Prince Feisal said: “We have already seen in the 2020 Olympic Games we have an Arab country that looked to be a candidate city to host the Games and for 2024 we expect other Middle East countries that might consider putting themselves forward.

“I would expect that we will find one or two countries will be putting themselves into the bidding process and it is a question of what they have and what it takes to meet the IOC requirements and whether they deserve the opportunity to host the Games.”

Published: Sunday 7th December 2014 by The News Editor

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