Activists protest Russia's anti-gay laws ahead of the 2014 Sochi Olympics (Getty Images)
(ATR) The IOC Host City Contract is the first under new IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi.
Around the Rings
has obtained the three-page letter signed by Dubi, that was sent to the 2022 bids
– Almaty, Kazakhstan as well as Beijing and Oslo. Dated September 16, the letter outlines a handful of changes to the Host City Contract for the 2022 Winter Games from the 2020 version.
In the wake of the international outcry over Russia’s anti-gay legislation that overshadowed the build-up to the Sochi 2014 Games, the IOC said “an express reference was included to the prohibition of any form of discrimination, using the wording of Fundamental Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter."
The IOC does not want any repeat of the protests over Russia's controversial laws on homosexuality that drew widespread condemnation and posed difficult political questions for the IOC and its TOP Sponsors.
Dubi said in the letter that the changes to the host city contract “are the result of the experience gained by the IOC in previous editions of the Olympic Games."
He said they are aimed at clarifying and simplifying certain clauses “and at addressing certain potential concerns for candidate cities and future host cities, in the spirit of good faith and cooperation, and taking into consideration certain comments made by the candidate cities.
Under efforts to lock down the sports program for the 2022 Games, an updated clause in the 90-page host city contract “imposes an obligation on the IOC to determine and to communicate to the city and the NOC the full program of the Games - including all sports, disciplines and events (as well as the relevant quotas) by the end of the [IOC] Session during which the city is elected.”
The 2022 host city will be elected at the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur on July 31, 2015. The IOC said that any changes it makes after that date “which create material adverse effects, can only be implemented in mutual agreement between the parties to the Host City Contract.”
It appears the IOC is keen to avoid costly venue changes to the bid book. A wave of new events and disciplines impacted preparations for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, while the IOC seems concerned about the raft of venue changes slowing down the Tokyo 2020 project.
Baseball-softball could yet join those Games, depending on the outcome of Olympic Agenda 2020 discussions about the sports program in December, which could delay Japan’s preparations.
IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland (Getty Images)
Another change to the host city contract is in the IOC’s financial contribution. It regroups different forms of contributions that the IOC and related entities will provide to the OCOG, representing an estimated $880 million. The IOC said it will also grant other rights and benefits and provide other forms of assistance to the OCOG for the success of the Games.
New wording in the contract also addresses how bids should respect “local, regional and national legislation and international agreements, standards and protocols applicable in the host country with regard to planning, construction, protection of the environment, health and safety and labor laws, in all Games-related development projects.”
On Olympic Villages, the IOC limits the OCOG’s obligation to provide accommodation by mentioning about 4,900 persons and 650 rooms (double occupancy) or 1,300 beds as supplementary accommodation.
An updated provision on taxes clarifies that exemptions to be granted to the IOC and related entities are only applicable to those levied in the host country. Other changes have been made to this provision to clarify the process of input tax recovery for Olympic stakeholders.
In line with its ongoing fight against match fixing and illegal betting, the IOC has clarified a clause “to highlight the need to effectively address all forms of manipulations of competitions.”
Oslo 2022 chief executive Eli Grimsby welcomed the new IOC directive.
“To be able to do so, we must now predict, as exactly as possible, the total Games cost,” she tells Around the Rings
“This clarification is a key factor to the extensive and on-going Oslo 2022 bid preparations.”
“Oslo 2022 also welcomes all initiatives from the IOC that contributes to the further development of the transparency of the organization and the Olympic Movement,” she added.
The Norwegian bid has made the draft host city contract available to the public on its website.
Reported by Mark Bisson.
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