Thomas Bach, IOC chart future course for Olympics
IOC president gathers 14 work groups for strategy session
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach's roadmap for the Olympic movement will begin to take shape this week.
Bach summoned 14 working groups to meet at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, to start discussing recommendations for Olympic Agenda 2020, his strategic blueprint for the future.
The meetings began Monday and continue through June 24.
Each working group consists of International Olympic Committee members, athletes, representatives of international federations, national Olympic committees and outside experts.
The groups will look at contributions submitted by Olympic officials as well as from the public.
"There were thousands of submissions on different themes," the IOC said in a statement Monday.
Among the key issues are proposed changes to the bidding process for hosting the games and the procedure for deciding which sports are on the Olympic program.
Also being discussed are a proposed Olympic TV channel, anti-doping efforts, ethics issues and the structure of the IOC membership.
Bach is also looking at ways of reducing the cost of hosting the Olympics, which has come under scrutiny after Russia spent $51 billion on the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
The IOC is considering re-instating visits to bid cities by IOC members, raising the 70-year age limit for members and adding more flexibility to the sports program, something which could allow for baseball and softball to be added to the program of the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The discussions come at a crucial time for the IOC as it seeks to encourage interest from prospective future host cities.
The race for the 2022 Winter Olympics has been hit by a series of rejections and withdrawals by European cities concerned about the high costs, leaving Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing as the most trouble-free bids.
Countries and cities considering possible bids for the 2024 Summer Olympics are waiting for the outcome of Bach's review process before deciding whether to enter the running.
The 14 working groups will present a "broad outline" of their findings to the IOC executive board at its next meeting in Lausanne from July 7-9. A summit of Olympic leaders will review the findings later in July.
The proposals will then go to IOC commissions in September and the executive board in October. Final recommendations will be put to the full IOC at a special assembly in Monaco from Dec. 8-9.
This week's meetings follow a series of global trips made by Bach in recent weeks, including to the Middle East, Africa and Asia. On Tuesday, he is scheduled to meet in Lausanne with U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon. The IOC and U.N. signed an agreement in New York on April 28 to further their cooperation.