The changes include two important alterations to the process timeline. The Invitation Phase will expand to a full year, giving NOCs and cities more time and more help to develop their proposals. The formal Candidature Phase will shorten from two years to one, significantly reducing the cost of a candidature.
IOC President Thomas Bach said the changes address both external and internal challenges presented by a new political dynamic and the IOC’s failure to adequately respond to them.
He acknowledged that deep skepticism toward a wide range of institutions, including corporations, government and sports organisations in a growing number of countries had made it harder to attract candidates for the Olympic Winter Games.
“We may not like this new political reality, but we cannot ignore it,” the IOC President said. “In a nutshell, the Candidature Process which worked so well in the past has become too expensive and too onerous for this new political reality. We have been asking too much, too soon of the cities.”
President Bach also noted that the most recent Olympic Winter Games, in Sochi, and the two upcoming Olympic Winter Games, PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022, are in new winter sports destinations. He added: “It is therefore in our best interest to demonstrate that traditional winter sports destinations in the Americas, Europe or Asia are most welcome as Olympic hosts.”
Under the new approach, the IOC will take a more proactive role in assisting and supporting cities considering a candidature well before any commitment. The IOC will customise its approach to the needs of the cities to help them develop the best value proposition for their city and region.
Cities will not be required to submit any formal proposals or deliver any presentations during the expanded Invitation Phase. Candidates can also expect closer IOC collaboration, expert advice and other support throughout the formal Candidature Process.
IOC members from winter sports regions strongly endorsed the idea in discussions before unanimously approving the idea.
The reforms approved build on changes that resulted from Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, and benefitted from the recommendations of the Olympic Winter Games Strategic Working Group. The IOC has steadily increased collaboration with candidate cities since the Candidature Process for the Olympic Winter Games 2022 and added a new Invitation Phase for potential candidates for the Olympic Games 2024.
The IOC Executive Board accelerated this ongoing evolution at its June meeting by approving a set of principles for further changes to address continuing concerns about the cost and complexity of the Candidature Process. The four IOC Vice-Presidents developed the changes in keeping with the principles approved by the Executive Board and submitted them for approval at the Extraordinary IOC Session in Lausanne.
The expanded Invitation Phase for the Olympic Winter Games 2026 will begin in September 2017.