Published By: Kavya Mishra
Last Updated: October 16, 2023, 00:02 IST
Countries that exclude athletes from competing for political reasons risk harming their plans to host an Olympic Games, the IOC said Sunday.
The “growing politicization of sport” was flagged as a problem by International Olympic Committee member Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, the former president of Croatia, in an update to global sports leaders about countries who want to host the games in future.
Though she did not identify problematic countries, Poland and Indonesia have expressed interest in hosting the 2036 Olympics. It is the next Summer Games available to be awarded.
Poland refused to let Russian athletes compete in the European Games this year and Indonesia was stripped by soccer governing body FIFA of hosting the men’s Under-20 World Cup in May because the Muslim-majority nation did not want to stage Israel games.
“We have witnessed more and more government restrictions being placed on athletes’ access to international sporting competitions,” Grabar-Kitarović said in Mumbai at the IOC’s annual meeting. It opened Saturday with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying his country wants to be the 2036 host.
The IOC panel that liaises with potential Summer Games bidders, which Grabar-Kitarović chairs, “must take any infringement of the Olympic Charter into consideration at all stages of the dialogue,” she said.
“It is important that all interested parties and preferred hosts commit to abide by the IOC’s code of ethics and rules of conduct,” she said.
Indonesian soccer federation president Erick Thohir also is an elected IOC member though was announced absent Sunday at the start of the meeting.
A decision on the 2036 Olympics host should be taken “not before 2026 or 2027.” Grabar-Kitarović said, in a new process that avoids public campaigns and a contested vote. Olympic hosts were traditionally picked when a slate of candidates were put to the 100-strong IOC membership.
Instead, potential hosts now work behind the scenes with the IOC, which leads to a preferred candidate getting an exclusive negotiating period to fine-tune its plans.
The 2032 Olympics host Brisbane was the first chosen this way two years ago when IOC members simply approved a recommendation from the executive board chaired by their president Thomas Bach.
Grabar-Kitarović added that the 2036 pick should be made under “new IOC leadership” — because Bach’s 12-year presidential term limit expires in 2025.
Earlier Sunday, several IOC members asked if Bach could stay as president for an extra four-year term through 2029. That would require a change of Olympic rules, likely in July on the eve of the 2024 Paris Games.
In a later update on Winter Games hosting, IOC members approved as expected a proposal to choose the 2030 and 2034 hosts at the same time in Paris.
Sweden, France and Switzerland have been preparing bids for 2030. In the United States, Salt Lake City has targeted the 2034 edition though IOC members were told Sunday that organizers in Utah are available for 2030 if needed.
Swedish sports bodies have opposed Russian athletes and teams being reintegrated to international events during the war in Ukraine. Both the Swedish and Swiss soccer federations last year refused to play Russian opponents before the country was excluded from, respectively, men’s World Cup qualifying and the women’s European Championship.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Associated Press)