Have the Games already been held and the case settled? The Australian bid for the 2032 Summer Games, led by the City of Brisbane and the State of Queensland, could be “recommended” by the IOC Executive Board on Wednesday, 24th February.
The Commission for Future Host Cities of the Summer Games, chaired by Kristin Kloster Aasen of Norway, will be invited by Thomas Bach to present their report on the ongoing discussions with declared applicants. They will do it remotely, via videoconference. And could, according to the British website InsidetheGames, express very clearly its preference for the Australian project.
At this stage of the process, more than 11 years before the event, the choice of the IOC will probably not be decided yet. The final decision will be taken at the session of the Olympic Forum, who’s next meeting is scheduled for 10th of March in virtual mode. It could come as early as this year, perhaps at the Tokyo Games, or in the not-so-distant future.
But if the IOC’s Executive Board voted in favour of Kristin Kloster Aasen’s recommendation on Wednesday, Queensland would further strengthen its position as a grand favourite. The Australians would then enter a new phase of the selection process. They would engage in a more “focused” dialogue, which is expected to lead them to be selected to host the Summer Games in 2032.
Officially, the other applicants will not be rejected right away. But the progress made by the Australians could quickly prove decisive.
As a reminder, the IOC decided to reform its selection process for host cities after the double vote – Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 – in Lima in September 2013. They sent the rule of seven years between the award and the event, the very principle of a candidacy campaign, into the oblivion of history, and opened the race to all scenarios.
Two commissions of the future host cities have been created, one for the winter and the other for the summer. With the same mission: establish a dialogue with potential applicants, sort through the projects, and then recommend one or more to the executive board.
The process involves the 2030 Winter Games and the 2032 Summer Games. But it has already been set up for the choice of host of the 2024 Youth Winter Games. The event was awarded to the South Korean province of Gangwon, which was chosen without the need for a vote to decide on several candidates.
For the competition, the “recommendation” expected this Wednesday in favour of Brisbane 2032 looks like a hard blow. Of course, it does not put an end to the race. Not yet. But it seriously reduces the chances of a group of postulants where India, Indonesia, Germany, Qatar, and more recently Hungary pressed.
Launched very early, and carried since the first day by the influential John Coates, the Queensland candidacy seemed to lead the way from the start of the race. An Australian delegation, led by Annastacia Palaszczuk, Prime Minister of State, paid a very official visit to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne at the end of 2019. More recently, Bach took advantage of his visit to Tokyo last fall to meet with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who was also present in the Japanese capital.
The health crisis put the project on hold, last year Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that the priority was now to fight the pandemic. But it was relaunched in December, with Queensland officials saying the Olympics could help the post-COVID economic recovery.