On the afternoon of 7 September 2013, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, will announce the host city of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, to be held in 2020. This announcement will be the culmination of a two-year process, which the IOC has developed over a number of years to ensure that the city that is elected is capable of hosting successful Games in the year in question and that the process is fair and transparent for all involved. Here is a brief recap of how the decision will be reached.
Phase I: Applicant Phase
A total of six cities endorsed by their National Olympic Committees (NOCs) submitted their applications to host the 2020 Olympic Games. These cities, in order of the drawing of lots, were: Baku (Azerbaijan), Doha (Qatar), Istanbul (Turkey), Madrid (Spain), Tokyo (Japan) and Rome (Italy)*. Phase I, known as the Candidature Acceptance Procedure, involved a thorough technical review by the IOC of each city’s potential to organise the 2020 Olympic Games. Cities were asked to reply to a questionnaire, and their answers, which were submitted to the IOC as an Application File, were studied by an IOC-appointed Working Group. This Working Group produced a report to assist the IOC Executive Board select the cities to become Candidate Cities and move on to Phase II.
*Rome withdrew during the first phase of the bid process
Phase II: Candidature Phase
On 23 May 2012, the IOC Executive Board selected Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid* as Candidate Cities to advance to the second phase of the bid process. By 7 January 2013, all three cities had submitted their Candidature Files, which are an in-depth description and blueprint of their Olympic project, and are based upon the 14 themes of the IOC’s Candidature Procedure and Questionnaire. These files form the basis for each city’s bid for the Games.
* Cities listed in the order of drawing of lots
On 6 September 2012, President Rogge announced the composition of the IOC Evaluation Commission for the 2020 Games. Led by IOC Executive Board member Sir Craig Reedie, the Commission is composed of representatives of the Olympic Movement and a number of technical advisors. The Commission visited each of the Candidate Cities on the following dates:
Tokyo: 4-7 March 2013
Madrid: 18-21 March 2013
Istanbul: 24-27 March 2013
Following these visits, the Commission produced the IOC Evaluation Commission report, which is a detailed technical appraisal of each city’s bid, highlighting the risks and opportunities. The report was made public and distributed to the IOC members on 25 June 2013.
Briefing for IOC Members
On 3 and 4 July 2013, the 2020 Candidate City Briefing for IOC Members was held in Lausanne. This meeting gives the cities and the IOC members the opportunity to discuss the technical elements of their bids over a two-day period. This year’s meeting was attended by 86 members and involved a technical briefing from each city, followed by a second day for members to ask any follow-up questions and view plans and models of each bid.
125th IOC Session in Buenos Aries
The culmination of the bid process is the meeting of the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The cities each have 45 minutes to make a presentation to the Session, followed by 15 minutes for questions. The cities will present in the order of drawing of lots, which was carried out by the IOC Executive Board in December 2011. Following the presentations by the cities, the Chairman of the Evaluation Commission, Sir Craig Reedie, will address the Session on behalf of the Commission.
All eligible IOC members will then be asked to vote. In each round, each participating IOC member may vote for only one city. As per the voting regulations, only those IOC members who are not nationals of countries for which there is a Candidate City in a round are permitted to vote. The votes of members not taking part in a round of voting or who abstain, as well as invalid electronic voting entries, are not taken into account in the calculation of the required majority.
If, after the first round of voting, no city obtains the absolute majority of the votes cast, as many rounds are held as necessary for a city to obtain such majority. The city receiving the least number of votes leaves the competition. The name of this city is made public straight away and the vote continues. If only two cities remain in contention, the one that obtains the greatest number of votes is elected.
The winning city is then announced by the IOC President at the Announcement Ceremony, following which the newly elected city and the NOC will sign the Host City Contract with the IOC.