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NOCs call for revision of Olympic bidding process

The Associated Press

VIENNA (AP) -- The national Olympic committees of Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland have joined forces to call for a thorough revision of the Olympic bidding process.

In a joint paper released Tuesday, the four European NOCs asked the International Olympic Committee for ''more support in bidding, more certainty in process, more partnership in risk, more flexibility in scale.''

All four nations backtracked recently from bidding plans to host the 2022 Winter Olympics (Munich, Stockholm and St. Moritz) or the 2028 Olympic Games (Vienna) because of a lack of national or, at least, regional public or political support.

The four NOCs said they don't intend to criticize the IOC but hope their findings will become part of the Olympic Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap of the Olympic movement which has been initiated by IOC President Thomas Bach and is set to be finalized by the end of the year.

In their 15-page document titled ''The Bid Experience,'' the four nations give an insight into the failed bids.

According to the paper, ''established European nations'' encounter similar problems when considering a bid, most notably the fact that ''public and politics seemingly fear the high costs of bidding for and hosting the Games, especially in the aftermath of the increase of costs that was witnessed in Sochi as well as concerns relating to human rights and sustainability.''

Furthermore, the situation ''is aggravated by the media picturing mistrust in the IOC.''

The four nations propose a string of recommendations to improve the bidding process, attempting to make it less complex and more transparent. They highlight eight key topics which are all related to the process of the bidding, or the costs and the scale of the Games.

Their recommendations to the IOC include shortening the bid phases; clearly dividing the cost of the Games in public and private costs; better explaining and promoting the IOC's financial contributions; and limiting the total number of the Olympic Family and reducing the IOC accommodation requirements.

The paper focused mainly on Winter Olympics because of the committees' experience that these challenges ''are even more pressing than in bidding for Olympic 'Summer' Games.''

Austria dropped plans to bid for the 2028 Olympics after 72 percent of the inhabitants of capital Vienna opposed the initiative. In Germany and Switzerland, 53 percent didn't support the Olympic proposal.

More recently, Krakow and Lviv also withdrew their applications for the 2022 Games, leaving Oslo, Almaty and Beijing the only remaining candidate cities.

However, the Oslo bid could be in doubt after opinion polls showed a majority of its residents are now against hosting the Games.

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