Athens Pick for 2021 IOC Session, Lausanne Home for Olympism in Action

(ATR) A vote on the IOC president will be cast at the 2021 Session....A plan to continue the Olympism in Action forum.

(ATR)The Greek capital is earmarked to stage the 2021 IOC Session where Thomas Bach could stand for a final four-year term as president.

The choice of Athens is part of a new targeted procedure by the IOC to select host cities for its annual meetings.

IOC communications chief Christian Klaue told a press conference that a feasibility study will take place before any decision is made on Athens, the 1896 birthplace of the modern Olympics.

"We looked into different options… it’s a symbolic year anyway with the election of a president. It was a good place to go," he told reporters to wrap a three-day executive board meeting in Lasusanne.

First elected IOC president in 2013 in Buenos Aires, the 2021 Session provides Bach with the opportunity to seek re-election for another four years, the limit under IOC rules.

As host of the ancient Olympics and regarded as the cradle of democracy, Klaue refused to be drawn when asked if the IOC would encourage multiple candidates to come forward to challenge Bach to demonstrate democracy in action.

The IOC Session in Lausanne this June is expected to decide whether Athens gets the 2021 event. It would be the eighth time the Greek capital has been awarded the IOC’s prestigious meeting. The first was in 1896 when Pierre de Courbetin was elected IOC president; the last was just ahead of the 2004 Games.

"I am really excited to have the 2021 Session hosted in the heart of Olympism, Athens, Greece," says Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos tells ATR.

"It will remind everybody how the Athens 2004 Olympic Games transformed the city and left a great legacy to all the people living in Athens," he said.

Capralos says a site for the Session has not been selected yet. He does expect the Panathenaic Stadium built for the first modern Games "will certainly have a special role in 2021".

The white marble stadium in the center of Athens is sacred ground for the Olympic Movement. Next March it will serve as the traditional departure point for the Olympic flame, this time on its way to Japan.

Olympism in Action Forum

The EB decided to continue the Olympism in Action conference following the success of the first edition in Buenos Aires in 2018.

The next edition is set for 2023 in Lausanne, with plans to hold it every four years after that in the Olympic capital "if possible in combinationwith another IOC event".

Delay to Human Rights Committee

After announcing the creation of an advisory group on human rights at the last IOC Executive Board in Tokyo, the EB announced it was delaying its formation and naming of members until a strategic framework had been established.

Already named to the body are its chairman Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Rachel Davis, managing director of Shift, a non-profit centre of expertise on business and human rights.

They have been tasked with developing the framework building on internal work at the IOC carried out in 2018. This work is expected to take a year to complete. The pair will report back to the IOC’s ruling body before other members are appointed. It will consist of six to nine members, with sport and human rights expertise.

Announcing the creation of the new group in December, Bach said: "Promoting humanistic values in sport has been a core feature of the IOC since its beginning. Our mission, to put sport at the service of humanity, goes hand-in-hand with human rights, which is part of our DNA."

The IOC envisages the new group as a key instrument to help meet human rights responsibilities and addressing the IOC’s "salient human rights risks through a comprehensive strategic approach and policy".

Reported in Lausanne by Mark Bisson.