IOC Member Endorses Twin Vote for 2024

(ATR) Pierre Olivier-Beckers says choosing both Paris and Los Angeles "a good thing".

Belgian Olympic Committee (BOIC - COIB) chairman Pierre-Olivier Beckers delivers a speech  at the general meeting of the BOIC / COIB in Brussels, on June 13, 2014. AFP PHOTO/BELGA/ LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ  -BELGIUM OUT-        (Photo credit should read LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images)
Belgian Olympic Committee (BOIC - COIB) chairman Pierre-Olivier Beckers delivers a speech at the general meeting of the BOIC / COIB in Brussels, on June 13, 2014. AFP PHOTO/BELGA/ LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ -BELGIUM OUT- (Photo credit should read LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images)

(ATR) Pierre Olivier-Beckers says he supports selecting Paris and Los Angeles as Olympic host cities later this year.

The two are campaigning for the 2024 Summer Games, but IOC president Thomas Bach has intimated that the IOC might consider a way to choose one for 2024 and the other city for 2028.

Such a change would involve a cascade of votes and decisions by the IOC as well as the two bid cities and could even be subject to legal challenges. The IOC is due to vote for the 2024 host city Sep. 13 at the session in Lima, Peru. The two cities are the remaining candidates after four cities dropped out of the race, Budapest the latest, in February.

The IOC member from Belgium revealed his support for the change in an interview with Philippe Vander Weyer, Olympics writer for the Belgian daily Le Soir.

"That would be a good thing. Do it now, when we know that there is a crisis to solve and thus to avoid a loser and one of the two cities to say 'I spent all that for nothing'," Beckers says, referring to the $50 million or so Olympic bid cities spend.

"Confirming holding the Games in two extraordinary and emblematic cities that are capable of organizing them in a professional way seems to me extraordinarily positive for the Olympic movement," Becker tells Vande Weyer.

Beckers has been president of the Olympic and Belgian Inter-Federal Committee since 2004 and a member of the IOC since 2012.

Beckers says the IOC should begin considering serious reforms to the bid process to put in place after it awards the Games for ‘24 and ‘28.

He says the difficulty Olympic bids have had in finding public support is partly the result of inadequate communication by the cities and the IOC.

"Public opinion reacts to the information it receives. If people are told that the country and city want to organize the Games and it will cost $25 billion for two weeks of competition, it is obvious that people will be asking questions," says Beckers.

"This is a false perception. The organization of the Games is a budget of $3 billion to $3.5 billion which is totally under control for each organizing city. Besides that, there is a budget specifically linked to sports infrastructures for which the IOC encourages existing or demountable installations. It is a message that needs to be strengthened," says Beckers.

And he says the billions more that cities spend on infrastructure improvements ahead of an Olympics must be part of a long-term plan for the city, not tied to the Games. He says that spending "is totally manipulated by those who oppose the Olympics".

Referendums have led to the collapse of a number of bids in recent years but Beckers says better information for the voters is needed as well as firm backing by government leaders.

"There are many recent examples that show that a systematic referendum is often a way for politicians to shirk their responsibilities. The Games are issues that go beyond the next few years and are of great technicality and complexity. If you think, at some point, that they can deeply transform a city and that the city needs it, you have to take responsibility," he says.

"Better coaching and more clarity on the part of the IOC to avoid "white elephants" and the unnecessary things that hurt the image of the Olympic movement and the financial health of the city. It is better to estimate costs initially by involving the best experts from a country," Beckers suggests.

A former chairman of the Belgian grocery conglomerate Delhaize, Beckers is one of the IOC’s most experienced members from the business sector. He holds a seat on the IOC Ethics Commission and is chair of the IOC Audit Commission.

Beckers ranked #24 in the Around the Rings Golden 25 of the most influential figures for the Olympics in 2017.

Written by Ed Hula.

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