India to bid for 2036 Olympics as IOC censures ‘politicisation of sport’

The IOC has warned against excluding athletes and teams for political reasons amid ‘growing politicisation of sport’.

paris olympics
Paris will host the Games in 2024, Los Angeles in 2028 and Brisbane in 2032 [Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters]

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned countries that exclude athletes from competing for political reasons they could risk harming their plans to host Olympic Games.

The “growing politicisation of sport” was flagged as a problem by IOC member Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Sunday in an update to global sports leaders about countries who want to host the games in future.

Meanwhile, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi confirmed that the world’s most populous nation will bid to host the 2036 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Poland and Indonesia have also expressed interest in hosting the 2036 Olympics – the next Summer Games available to be awarded.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the IOC session in Mumbai, Modi said hosting the Olympic Games is “the age-old dream” for India.

“Indians are not just sports lovers, but we also live it,” Modi said.

“India will leave no stone unturned in the preparation for the successful organisation of the Olympics in 2036 – this is the dream of the 140 crore [1.4 billion] Indians.”

“We want to realise this dream with your support. I am sure India will get constant support from IOC.”

A city or region was not specified by Modi but Ahmedabad, which boasts the largest stadium in the world with a capacity of 132,000 and is named after the Indian Prime Minister, would be a likely contender as the main host city for the country’s bid.

IOC underlines need to abide by code of ethics

Indonesia and Mexico have previously expressed official interest in hosting the 2036 Olympics, and last month Poland’s President Andrzej Duda told the IOC it wants to stage the Games.

Poland refused to let Russian athletes compete in the European Games this year and Indonesia was stripped by football’s governing body FIFA of hosting the men’s Under-20 World Cup in May because the Muslim-majority nation did not want to stage host the Israeli team.

“We have witnessed more and more government restrictions being placed on athletes’ access to international sporting competitions,” former Croatia President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said at the meeting in Mumbai.

The IOC panel that liaises with potential bidders, which Grabar-Kitarovic 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 football federation president Erick Thohir also is an elected IOC member though was announced absent at the start of the meeting.

Behind-closed-doors process

A decision on the 2036 Olympics host should be taken “not before 2026 or 2027” Grabar-Kitarovic said, in a new process that avoids public campaigns and a contested vote.

“I am pleased to report that the number of the interested parties for hosting the Games is in double digits,” Grabar-Kitarovic said.

She did not clarify whether that figure included both summer and winter Games candidacies or just the 2036 Summer Olympics.

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-Kitarovic 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.

Paris will host the Games in 2024, Los Angeles in 2028 and Brisbane in 2032.

Source: News Agencies