Los Angeles, Paris Ready for IOC Inspection -- Monday Memo

(ATR) Also: FIFA Congress in Bahrain; IPC reviews Tokyo 2020; Baku hosts Islamic Games; South Korea elects next leader.

(ATR) The International Olympic Committee evaluation commission visits this week could make or break the Summer 2024 Olympic candidate cities.

The 13-member commission chaired by FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann will travel to Los Angeles from May 9-12 followed directly by a trip to Paris from May 13-16. The other commission members are: Marisol Casado, Mikaela Cojuangco Jaworski, Kirsty Coventry, Nawal El Moutawakel, Uğur Erdener, Habu Gumel, Poul-Erik Høyer, Gunilla Lindberg, Bernard Rajzman, Tsunekazu Takeda, Duane Kale and Kereyn Smith.

These trips mark the first official visit to the cities vying to host the 2024 Summer Games by IOC members since the bid race began in 2015. With the host city election looming in September, the evaluation commission’s inspection will play a major role in determining who the IOC votes for at the Session in Lima on Sep. 13.

The IOC delegation arrives in Los Angeles in May 9 but the inspection begins on May 10. IOC members will spend three days touring the proposed venues and receiving updates from Los Angeles 2024. Private meetings and press conferences between the bid leaders and evaluation commission will also take place.

The schedule will remain the same when the IOC shifts its focus to Paris and arrives in the French capital on May 13. The IOC begins its inspection the following day and concludes its tours and meetings on May 16.

With both Los Angeles and Paris offering an unprecedented amount of pre-existing venues in their proposals, the IOC venue tour in each city will give the commission a real sense of what the city will look like during the Games.

The commission will provide detailed reports of the opportunities and challenges it identified with each of the bid cities prior to the 2024 Candidate City Briefing in Lausanne from July 11-12.

FIFA Considers Fast Track of 2026 World Cup Selection

Leaders of World Football will decide this week whether to accept the proposal by Canada, Mexico and the United States to move up the host city selection for the 2026 World Cup.

The three countries launched a joint bid on April 10 in New York City to bring FIFA’s biggest event back to the continent for the first time since 1994, making it the clear frontrunner to host given the rotational guidelines.

Countries in Europe and Asia are ineligible to bid for the event with Russia and Qatar hosting the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively, and a bid from South America is publicly planned for the 2030 edition.

A month before announcing its bid, CONCACAF and Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani, US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati and Mexican Football Federation president Decio De Maria sent a letter to FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura seeking an exclusive opportunity to present their detailed proposal to FIFA.

The request includes moving up the host city selection to May 2018 instead of May 2020 and including discussions regarding the selection change at the FIFA Congress on May 11 in Manama, Bahrain.

A day after the announcement of the bid, FIFA released the agenda for this week’s congress including the request for discussions on the 2026 bidding changes. The CONCACAF bid hopes that by getting all of its ducks in a row early that it can squash the possibility of any rival bidder.

If the bid’s request is approved it will have until March 2018 to outline its plans for the 2026 tournament and convince FIFA’s executive members it is the best option to host the 48-team competition.

If satisfied with its proposals, FIFA’s executives and president Gianni Infantino would report back to FIFA’s 211 member federations ahead of the May 2018 FIFA Congress where a final vote would take place.

Tokyo Welcomes Paralympic Project Review

The International Paralympic Committee will conduct its third Project Review of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic preparations this week.

The two-day session begins May 10 and features workshops, joint press conferences with the IPC and Tokyo 2020 organizers and an IPC Media Workshop.

The press conferences will be led by IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez and Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto and the IPC Media Workshop will be ran by IPC communications chief Craig Spence.

The IPC will take the opportunity to ensure the Japanese organizers are making positive progress towards staging the Paralympics in 2020. The meetings and workshops will all take place at Toranomon Hills Mori Tower.

Baku Hosts Islamic Solidarity Games

The 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games begin this week in Azerbaijan, allowing the country to follow up on its hosting experience after the successful Baku 2015 European Games.

The fourth edition of the event begins on Friday, May 12 and features athletes from 55 countries representing the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation. The ISSF contains 56 countries but due to the Kuwait Olympic Committee’s suspension, Kuwait’s athletes will compete under the ISSF flag.

The venue that hosted the opening and closing ceremony of the inaugural European Games will also stage the ceremonies for this multi-sport event. The nearly 70,000 capacity Baku National Stadium will also host the athletics and para-athletics competitions.

Athletes will compete across 21 sports and 24 disciplines throughout the 10 day competition that concludes May 22.

South Korea Elects Next President

The head of state that presides over the next Winter Olympics will be determined this week in South Korea.

The country will hold its Presidential election on May 9 where citizens will vote to replace its place-holder President Kyo Ahn Hwang. Hwang is the Prime Minister who took over the Presidency following the impeachment of former President Geun Hye Park for her alleged involvement in a multitude of bribes. Park is now in a jail cell and denying the charges while Hwang has declined to run to retain the Presidency..

The election features a front-runner Jae In Moon as well as five other primary contenders: Cheol Soo Ahn, Joon Pyo Hong, Seung Min Yoo, Sang Jung Sim and Won Jin Cho.

This election marks the second consecutive Olympic host country to undergo major leadership changes just prior to the Games. Former Brazilian President Dilma Roussef was impeached shortly after the Rio 2016 Olympics began but had already been suspended and replaced by acting President Michel Temer who opened the Summer Games.

Written by Kevin Nutley

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