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IOC could name hosts of both 2024 and 2028 Games this year

The International Olympic Committee appears to have moved a step closer towards awarding both the 2024 and 2028 Games at a meeting later this year. This comes with just two cities left in the mix for the 2024 event.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach told reporters after a two-day meeting in Pyongchang on Friday that his executive board had set up a working group made up of the IOC's four vice presidents to explore the idea of awarding the rights to host the next two Summer Games at once.

"All the options are on the table, and this includes also the '24-'28 procedure and vote," Bach said as he announced the formation of the working group. Currently, only the right to host the 2024 Olympics is to be decided when the IOC meets in Lima, Peru in September.

"We have two excellent candidates there from two major Olympic countries," Bach said. "This is a position you like to be in." The working group is to put its proposals to the board and full membership at a meeting in July in Lausanne, Switzerland, where the IOC has its headquarters. Committees representing last two cities seeking to host the 2024 Games, Los Angeles and Paris, are to make formal presentations of their hosting plans at that meeting.

Awarding two consecutive Summer Games at once would require an amendment to the Olympic Charter, which currently provides for host cities to be chosen seven years in advance. However, Bach said he didn't regard this as a stumbling block.

"You must always have room for interpretation to adapt to changing times," he said. "The charter is flexible enough also in this respect."

Los Angeles and Paris have been left in a two-way race  for 2024 after Hamburg, Rome, Budapest and Boston dropped out amid public or political opposition to hosting the Olympics, largely due to the huge costs involved.

Since December, Bach has repeatedly warned about a bid process that produces "too many losers," hinting at concerns that whichever city loses the vote for the 2024 Games may not bother to apply to host the Olympics four years later.

pfd/ (dpa, AP)

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