IOC President addresses General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in Zagreb
President Bach took the floor on the opening morning of the EOC General Assembly on Friday to give an update on the opportunities and issues currently facing the Olympic Movement.
The President gave the Assembly an update on the investigations into the failure of the anti-doping system in Russia. He confirmed that a decision will be taken on 5 December by the IOC Executive Board (EB). President Bach once again emphasised the need for "fair and due process, to which every individual or organisation is entitled".
President Bach went on to warn those who might be trying to influence the final decision of the IOC. "From whichever side some may try to put pressure, they will be wrong. The IOC EB is used to this kind of situation. They will look at the facts and conclusions of the different commissions and take a fair decision with regard to the participation of Russia in PyeongChang, or any other issue to be considered," he told participants.
President Bach once more emphasised the difference between the current investigation and the situation ahead of the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
"This is about what happened at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 - now it is about us," he said. "This is about the integrity of the Olympic Games. Now it is about what happened at the Olympic Games at an Olympic laboratory with Olympic athletes and Olympic medallists."
President Bach also outlined the pre-Games testing programme that is in place ahead of PyeongChang 2018. "The IOC, together with the AIOWF and WADA, has a target pre-Games testing programme which will perform 4,000 tests between April 2017 and January 2018."
The programme will target certain nationalities and particular Russian athletes. It will also look at high-risk sports and disciplines, so that everything is done to ensure that the Olympic Winter Games can be clean. The Winter Federations have also agreed to publish each month a list by nationality of the number of tests carried out in their respective sports.
President Bach also looked forward to the future: to the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and also the dual allocation of the Olympic Games, Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.
Turning to the process for selecting the host city for the Olympic Winter Games 2026, President Bach said:
"We have three consecutive Olympic Winter Games in cities which have to develop some winter sports disciplines from scratch and to develop the related infrastructure," said President Bach. "I hope that this time we will have a candidate with a tradition in winter sport with existing infrastructure, be it in Europe, be it in Asia, or be it in the Americas," he added.
President Bach added that he hoped the host for 2026 could "follow suit with the allocation of 2024 and 2028, where we have a record number of existing or temporary facilities, to set an example for sustainable and feasible Games".
Later, Deputy Director General Pere Miró gave a report on NOC relations. He gave a short report on relations between the Olympic Movement and the European Council, and particularly the recent visit by the IOC President to the European Union Sports Ministers Council meeting. There the IOC President expressed the importance of preserving the European Sports Model.
The IOC President made it clear that a purely market-based approach would jeopardise the European Sports Model. "This can be in nobody's interest. It neglects the social contribution of organised sport and its existing solidarity mechanisms," the IOC President had told the EU Sports Ministers.
Mr Miró told the Assembly that the IOC President had called on the EU Commission to acknowledge and respect these differences according to the EU treaty, which requires it to take the specificity of sport into consideration. The IOC having opened the door to this exchange, Mr Miró encouraged the EOC and NOCs to take up the relationship.