Rogge expects 2016 close call

Sport Business News

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge is predicting a tight battle in the voting for the host city of the 2016 Olympic Games.

With less than two weeks remaining until the IOC gathers in Copenhagen on 2 October 2009 to vote for the host city, Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo are all honing their final preparations. The IOC's 100–plus members vote by secret ballot, with the candidate receiving the least votes eliminated in each round until one city secures a winning majority. In 2005, London beat Paris by four votes in the final round to secure the 2012 Olympics, and Rogge is expecting a close run affair for the 2016 Games. "It's probably going to be a couple of votes, " he said during a recent teleconference. "Two, three, or four votes, it's going to be very close. Don't forget that something like four or five votes is a change of mind from just two or three people. Maybe it will be the cities' last presentation in Copenhagen that sway the votes of two members. " Rogge stated that Chicago's bid is unlikely to be compromised by tensions that have arisen of late between the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the IOC over issues such as the American body's share of Olympic revenues and its controversial plans to launch a cable network. Rogge outlined the two sides reached a truce on the revenue issue in March and the USOC agreed last month to put its US Olympic Network project on ice. The IOC president added: " I think it will have no negative effect whatsoever. These two things are out of discussions now, so I don't expect a negative aspect. " Chicago mayor Richard Daley's decision earlier this month to sign the host–city contract, giving the city full financial responsibility for any cost overruns, has also eliminated the disparity between Chicago and its rival cities on the issue of full government guarantees, Rogge added. Meanwhile, referring to a telephone conversation he had with Barack Obama last week, the IOC president reiterated that he doesn't expect the US president to travel to Copenhagen, with first lady Michelle Obama set to lead Chicago's bid instead. Rogge said: " With a sense of humour, he said he'd send the best part of the couple, and that the first lady was the best stand–in for himself. He didn't talk of coming himself. " Rogge maintains that the winning city will be one that ticks all the boxes of the key issues facing a host city staging the world's biggest sports event. " We want to be sure it is awarded to a city that not only has a very good bid file, but also enjoys big support from the local population. "I think the majority of members will vote on the fundamentals. Is there good organisation, do we trust the people, are the venues okay, is the transportation okay? " About The Sport Briefing This story has been reproduced with the kind permission of The Sport Briefing. The Sport Briefing is published by PA Sport and can be found at: www. thesportbriefing. comThe Sport Briefing is updated as and when news happens, from across the global business of sport. The industry's biggest stories have an accompanying email alert, and The Sport Briefing sends subscribers a daily digest to give them an easy–to–read overview of the day's main events. Contact rory. squires@thesportbriefing. com for more information.

Additional information