The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced this morning that Brisbane is the preferred bidder to host the 2032 Games.
The IOC’s Future Host Commission recommended that the body enters “targeted dialogue” with Brisbane bid organisers and the Australian Olympic Committee.
IOC president Thomas Bach said while the decision is not final, the executive board agreed unanimously with the recommendation to open exclusive talks with Brisbane about hosting the Games in 2032, praising Brisbane’s “very advanced” bid plan.
“This decision is not a decision against anybody,” Bach said. “This is just a decision in favour of one interested party at this moment in time.”
Bach added that “more detailed discussions” with Brisbane would start, although he gave no timetable.
The bid would be focused around Brisbane and Gold Coast, which both already boast extensive sporting infrastructure. Gold Coast held the 2018 Commonwealth Games, while Brisbane boasts 21 sports venues.
The huge boost for Queensland makes it an almost unbeatable frontrunner to host the Olympics ahead of rival 2032 bidders including Doha (Qatar), Budapest (Hungary) and a possible joint bid involving North and South Korea.
A final call could be made as early as July, ahead of this year’s delayed Tokyo Games.
The awarding of the 2032 Olympics is the first to take place with a new election method adopted in June 2019 in an attempt to counter application fees and a lack of serious bids.
For the 2024 Games, Bach bemoaned the process had “produced too many losers”, after Rome, Hamburg and Budapest all pulled out of the running. In September 2017, the IOC awarded the 2024 Games to Paris and the 2028 Olympics to Los Angeles.
The IOC has since set up its Future Host Commission, which analyses bids before recommending its preferred option to the executive.
The Australian Olympic Committee welcomed the announcement of Brisbane as the preferred candidate, as the country takes a major step towards hosting another Games 32 years after they arrived in Sydney.
“The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has welcomed this morning’s announcement that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will enter into ‘Targeted Dialogue’ with the Brisbane, Queensland candidature to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” the AOC said in a statement.
“The decision, which was taken at this morning’s IOC Executive Board Meeting, confers ‘preferred host’ status to the Brisbane candidature which has the support of the Federal Government, Queensland Government, the Council of Mayors, South East Queensland, Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics Australia.
“Previously, the IOC’s Future Host Committee (FHC) has been in ‘Continuous Dialogue’ with the Brisbane candidature which examined Queensland’s capacity to host an Olympic Games.”
Brisbane’s bid enjoys the backing of John Coates, the Australian Olympic Committee president and an influential IOC vice-president, but he wasn’t counting his chickens before they hatch.
“This is an important next step in an ongoing dialogue with the Future Host Commission. We are very clear that we must continue to work hard in outlining our vision for a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2032,” Coates said.
The IOC said in a statement: “The decision to advance the process was taken at this particular moment, given the uncertainty the world is facing right now. This uncertainty is expected to continue even after the COVID-19 health crisis is over.
“The IOC is considering seizing the momentum offered by the excellent project of Brisbane 2032 and the AOC, in this way, bringing stability to the Olympic Games, the athletes, the IOC and the whole Olympic Movement.”
Chair of the Future Host Commission, Kristin Kloster Aasen, added: “It’s a very advanced project that sits really well with us. It has an excellent masterplan.
“It bears the signs of a project that has been moulded for a number of years with high-level support of government. Good legacy plan, good venue plan … there are many, many things that made us want to put this forward.”
In January Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner told the Sydney Morning Herald there was plenty of optimism around Queensland’s bid.
“It’s very exciting. All three levels of government are on board and working feverishly,” he said.
“There was a lull for a period last year where there wasn’t so much talk about the Olympics, but that didn’t mean things weren’t continuing behind the scenes. Now, it’s just a matter of getting down to targeted discussions and hopefully make it a reality.
“That is something that could happen any time now.”
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