IOC introduces reforms: from diminishing costs to anti-sexual discrimination11 december 2014, 14:36
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games confirmed that the most important sporting events could be conducted outside the host city or even country. Kazakhstan is bidding to host the 2022 Olympics so it may be affected by the changes as well.
The decision to change the rules was made on December 8 during the meeting of the IOC in Monaco, Tengrinews reports citing Vesti.kz. Earlier, Stockholm, Oslo, Krakow and Lviv dropped bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics citing financial difficulties. This left only Kazakhstan's Almaty and Chinese Beijing running.
The escalation of financial concerns undermines one of the key ideas behind the Olympics. The Olympic Games are promoted as a successful business project that attracts attention and investments to its host country.
The IOC also promised additional financial support for host countries.
The name of the 2022 Olympics host city will be announced in July 2015. But with the new rules in place, in case Kazakhstan wins the bid, the Winter Olympics could be hosted outside Almaty and even outside Kazakhstan.
On the one hand, this may be a good development for Kazakhstan, since some of its officials had voiced the idea of holding the Olympics in two cities - Almaty and Astana - even before the Olympic Committee changed the rules. With the Olympics hosted by two Kazakh cities Kazakhstan would need to construct less new infrastructure to accommodate all the sports events. Accommodation of tourists visiting Kazakhstan during the Games would also be no problem with two cities involved.
On the other hand, should the Games be partly held outside Kazakhstan, this would again undermine the key ideas behind the Olympics with Kazakhstan having to share the effect - attention and investments - from this expensive international event with some other country.
Some of the members of the IOC also expressed concerns over the new rules.
"I am worried that the unique character of the games could be diminished by the recommendation to allow some events to be dispersed over several locations within the same country, or even in a neighboring country. The Olympic village won't look the same and for isolated athletes (the games) will resemble more to a kind of world championship without living a true Olympic experience," Denis Oswald, an IOC member from Switzerland said.
The IOC provisioned a number of other reforms such as new cheaper bidding process, financial support, doping control and inclusion of sexual orientation in nondiscrimination principle.
In particular, after the last year scandal around Russia’s ban on propaganda of homosexuality, the IOC has been concerned with preventing discrimination against athletes in host countries.
"Today is a great step forward for the Olympics, and particularly for the athletes, spectators, and residents of host countries who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Our hope is that potential host countries, like Kazakhstan and China, will understand that protecting the rights of sexual minorities is no longer something they can dodge,” Shawn Gaylord, of Human Rights First said.
Writing by Gyuzel Kamalova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina