KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Brisbane, barring political and financial accidents, can look forward to staging the summer Olympic Games in 2032.
The Australian National Olympic Committee and its city partners must still jump through a number of hoops but the conclusion of the latest executive board of the IOC has indicated that 2032 is only the Queensland city’s to lose.
Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee and his colleagues, streamlined the hosting award system after being forced to make up new rules on the hoof in the simultaneous summer Games awards of 2024 to Paris and 2028 to Los Angeles.
This led to the creation in 2019 of a commission for future host cities of the summer Games to invite interested cities and NOCs to enter into a confidential dialogue.
Bach, who stands unopposed for re-election next month, said: “We turned into a more targeted and flexible approach ensuring to lower the cost of any project to a minimum and to prevent any undue influence and lobbying. For example, no executive board member can serve on such a commission.
“The commission received interested declarations from numerous parties across the world. Some of these NOCs decided to keep the dialogue confidential, others entered into this official first stage of the procedure.
“We have now received a report from the commission which recommended that the executive board enter into a targeted dialogue with Brisbane 2032 and the Australian Committee for the Games of the 36th Olympiad. The executive board, after very intensive discussions, has approved this recommendation.
“This decision is not a decision against anybody, this is just a decision in favour of one interested party at this moment in time. The committee will enter into more detailed discussions with Brisbane about their potential to host the Games in 2032 and further evaluate this.”
The Norwegian chair of the commission, Kristin Kloster Aasen, delivered such a breathtakingly positive assessment of Brisbane’s bid that any possible latecomers will already have raised a white flag.
She said: “It’s a very advanced project with an excellent master plan. It bears the signs of a project moulded for a number of years, good venue plans, good legacy plans and it also ticks the box in terms of the global challenge of the climate issues. There are many things that made us want to put this forward.”
Australia has hosted the Olympic Games twice before, in Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.
Kloster Aasen refused to speculate on which IOC Session will be asked to decide on the 2032 host on the basis of a formal recommendation from the executive board. She also said: “It’s not a done deal.”
However the clear indication was that the IOC, perhaps even next year some 10 years in advance, will have no ultimate role to play except rubber-stamp the Brisbane candidacy.
Christophe Dubi, the IOC’s Games director, said that a decision on the presence of fans at the Tokyo Games will not be taken until April at the earliest though former local president Yoshiro Mori had suggested previously that the issue could be decided in March.
Now, with continued uncertainty over the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic, the IOC has opted for as much time as possible. Dubi said: “A decision will be taken as late as possible but as early as necessary. Towards the end of April, would be a good time.”
It is likely that access regulation will differ between Japanese spectators and foreigners. The possibility remains that only Japanese residents may be allowed to attend.
The torch relay will be launched as planned on March 25, starting in Fukushima prefecture, and with mask-wearing obligatory for spectators.