Editor's Note: Ryan Gauthier
is Assistant Professor at Thompson Rivers University in Canada. Ryan’s
research addresses the governance of sports organisations, with a
particular focus on international sports organisations. His PhD research
examined the accountability of the International Olympic Committee for
human rights violations caused by the organisation of the Olympic Games.
Big June 2019 for Olympic Hosting
On June 24, 2019, the International
Olympic Committee (IOC) selected Milano-Cortina to host the 2026 Winter Olympic
Games. Milano-Cortina’s victory came despite a declaration that the bid was “dead”
just months prior when the Italian government refused
to support the bid. Things looked even more dire for the Italians when 2006 Winter Games
host Turin balked at a three-city host proposal. But, when the bid was presented to
the members of the IOC Session, it was selected over Stockholm-Åre by 47 votes to 34.
Just two days later, the IOC killed
the host selection process as we know it. The IOC did this by amending two
sections of the Olympic Charter in two key ways. First, the IOC amended Rule 33.2, eliminating the
requirement that the Games be selected by an election seven years prior to the
Games. While an election by the IOC Session is still required, the
seven-years-out requirement is gone.
Second, the IOC amended Rule 32.2 to
allow for a broader scope of hosts to be selected for the Olympic Games. Prior
to the amendment, only cities could host the Games, with the odd event being
held in another location. Now, while cities are the hosts “in principle”, the
IOC had made it so: “where deemed appropriate, the IOC may elect several
cities, or other entities, such as regions, states or countries, as host of the
The change to rule 33.2 risks
undoing the public host selection process. The prior process included bids
(generally publicly available), evaluation committee reports, and other
mechanisms to make the bidding process transparent. Now, it is entirely
possible that the IOC may pre-select a host, and present just that host to the
IOC for an up-or-down vote. This vote may be seven years out from the Games,
ten years out, or two years out. More...