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Sports

IOC President Bach: Paris and Los Angeles present 'golden opportunity'

During a recent visit to Berlin, IOC President Thomas Bach called for the rights to host the 2024 and the 2028 Olympics to be awarded at the same time. Bach also said that the IOC needed to adjust to a new zeitgeist.

Thomas Bach, what do you make of the fact that FIFA has now made public the Garcia Report into the controversial decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups at the same 2010 meeting of the Executive Council?

Thomas Bach: I think it was right to publish this report. Now everyone can piece things together for themselves. I hope that this will clarify the open questions that had remained. I also hope that the public will not generalize what happened, but will consider where, in what context and at what time things took place - and that the difference between different areas will become clear. I also hope that the public will bear in mind that FIFA has made changes since then.

Russia is again suspected of wrongdoing. There are allegations that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has handed over 155 suspicious samples from doping tests of Russian football players to FIFA, which are still to be tested. Is criticism of Russia growing?

No. This is a sign of the work that the international sports federations, including FIFA, still have to complete. It all has to do with working through the findings of the McLaren report, which is the responsibility of the international sports federations, while the International Olympic Committee is responsible for the events that occurred at the Sochi Olympic Games. So FIFA is actually just one of many international sports federations in which investigations are being conducted.

Südkorea Pyeongchang Olympische Winterspiele 2018 Vorbereitungen (picture-alliance/dpa/R. Sitdiko)

Pyeongchang is to host the 2018 Winter Games

Fair sporting competition is a big part of the Olympic idea. Does the constant talk of doping in sports give you cause for worry about that idea?

Ideas and values are constantly under attack and sometimes they are violated. I am afraid that sports are no different to life in general. Wherever people are in competition with each other, there will be some who seek to gain an unfair advantage. Anti-doping rules don't exist in any other area of society, but they are at the core of the sports world. This is why anti-doping efforts are so important.

You are reported to have considered barring Russian athletes from competing in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Can we expect this to happen?

We are not just thinking about it, the relevant disciplinary committee is already working on it. Its job is to get to the bottom of what happened at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. And not only with regard to the 28 athletes mentioned in the McLaren Report, but also the systematic manipulation that evidently took place. We find ourselves at a different point of departure than prior to Rio a year ago, when it was a matter of being fair to the athletes who were not part of the (doping) system. This system applied to the international sports federations and the testing laboratory. Now it is all about the Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is responsible for this, and we will take any steps deemed necessary.

Enges Rennen um die Olympischen Spiele 2024 (picture alliance/dpa)

Los Angeles and Paris are in the running for the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympic Games

The IOC is planning to award the rights to host both the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympic Games during the same meeting. Is this really a good idea?

This is a golden opportunity for the IOC, particularly when you have two great candidates like Paris and Los Angeles - from two strong Olympic countries like France and the USA. We also have applicants that are implementing the Olympic Agenda 2020 by taking advantage of a record number of existing and temporary sports facilities on a scale that we have probably never seen at the Olympics - and thus significantly reducing costs. It would not be very clever to miss this opportunity. So I hope I can count on the approval of the IOC members in Lausanne next week.

We also need to adapt to the changing political decision-making processes. Today's application process is too expensive, too perfectionist, too cumbersome. When an application found its way to us a few years ago, the government, the opposition, the business and the sporting communities were behind it. Everyone was happy and agreed that they had submitted a strong application. Today we live in an age of a general lack of trust. People think that if everyone in this establishment is completely behind something then there is something fishy. They think it is only about personal profit, and that the taxpayers will wind up footing the bill in the end. We must and we will adjust to this new zeitgeist. In Lausanne next week we will be discussing a new application process, which is to be used for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.

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