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Head Of States To Be Banned?


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Before anyone elese picks me up on it, make that title "Heads of State"

LOL

Anyway, this caught my eye:

IOC to review Games votes

Sunday Jul 8 06:46 AEST

The International Olympic Committee will review the presence of heads of state for future votes to decide Olympic Games host cities, its president Jacques Rogge said on Saturday.

Russia's Sochi won the 2014 Winter Olympics vote on July 4, a success largely credited to the presence and active lobbying of Russian President Vladimir Putin during the IOC session in Guatemala City.

Putin spent two days in the capital meeting Rogge and IOC members and speaking in English during the final presentation. Sochi won by just four votes, beating South Korea's Pyeongchang in the second round.

Austria's Salzburg lost in the first round of voting despite having Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer on site.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun was also in town, on a three-day charm offensive that in the end failed to pay off.

London won the 2012 Summer Games two years ago with then British Prime Minister Tony Blair flying to Singapore and meeting dozens of IOC members ahead of the vote, in a move insiders say turned the tide for London.

Favourites Paris lost despite the presence of French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, although he did not meet IOC members.

"It can have advantages and disadvantages," Rogge said when asked if heads of state were now the norm in such IOC elections.

"This is something that has to be reviewed," he told reporters at the end of the session.

Rogge said he would soon meet Putin in Moscow to discuss Sochi's plans as a host city.

Asked whether he would meet officials of the Russian energy giant Gazprom, who prior to the vote said they were interested in a sponsorship deal with the IOC, Rogge said the visit would not include any meetings on commercial affairs.

Rogge added that the IOC would review the overall bidding process as part of its usual post-bidding procedure, amid growing criticism from IOC members that the process had become an auction.

Sochi spent a reported $US40 million ($A46.81 million) on the bid, a figure that would deter smaller countries from making a bid.

"We will audit all accounts and will evaluate the candidature procedures," Rogge said.

AAP

Hmmm. This strikes me as a bit of a knee-jerk response to a bit of recriminatory comments that have flown around the past few days.

But maybe it is sensible?

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I'm beginning to think that it may be a sensible move in the long run.The presence of political bigwigs arriving and lobbying the delegates on the very eve of an IOC election is begining to be viewed as a potential distraction and looks as if the whole process is becoming too much of a political auction! Smaller countries may feel (rightly or wrongly) that they won't any longer stand a chance against the big boys!!

It may not be an accurate or fair perception but it is a perception nonetheless and I think it will have to be taken into account.

I don't think you can expect to completely eliminate any overt political backing for the respective bids and nor should there be as the IOC constantly seeks re-assurance that each bid has the full support and backing of the respective governments.But maybe political leaders could in future be confined to voicing their support for their countries' bids by televised link as Bush and Putin did at the 2012 election.

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Surely it is preferable to have heads of state as heavily involved in bids as Putin and Blair have been in order to make clear to the IOC that the commitment to the Games goes to the highest levels of government. Certainly that was a fatal weakness of the Manchester bids for 1996 and 2000.

I agree with you that this seems to be something of a knee-jerk reaction. It's not as though Putin was the only head of state present in Guatemala.

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I can see why some of the smaller countries would like it _ let's face it, power equals charisma, and no matter how personable a President of an Austria or Czech Republic or Korea might be, they'd never have the type of profile of power a President of the United States or Russia or PM of the UK would have. But how could you set a benchmark? As Mainad says, the IOC likes to have a demonstration of total government support, but what can one do _ tell superpowers they can only teleconference but set a GDP benchmark below which leaders can indeed come begging?

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You can't set a benchmark and to try to do so would be daft. You either allow heads of state at the IOC sessions or you don't.

Exactly, it's an all or nothing thing.

Anyway, while I think it's true that such leaders do have an effect _ Pound said that he thought Putin was probably worth about four votes to Sochi and I doubt anyone would argue againast the fact Blair certainly swung some vital votes London's way _ such influence can only work if they have a decent, solid bid to promote in the first place. I doubt, for example, that even a JFK's or a Ronald Reagan's charisma could have sold the flawed NYC 2012 bid, for example.

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"such influence can only work if they have a 'decent, solid bid' to promote in the first place".

That is contradictory, to say the least. Considering Sochi did not have a "decent, solid bid" to promote. It was a bid of high-risk & something the 2014 Evaluation Report confirmed.

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"such influence can only work if they have a 'decent, solid bid' to promote in the first place".

That is contradictory, to say the least. Considering Sochi did not have a "decent, solid bid" to promote. It was a bid of high-risk & something the 2014 Evaluation Report confirmed.

It made the short list - it's able to host. The short list is where those that are able are winnowed from the also rans and wannabees. Beyond that, it's great then that the wider IOC membership are able to focus and choose for other reasons beyond technocratic aspects.

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It made the short-list for the very same reasons that they won the whole damn thing. It made the short-list at the expense of Sofia & Almaty, again for the very reasons why it won. Why can't people just admit to it.

And yes, your points are well taken, & I don't disagree, but it still contradicts your one sentence of the head of state influence.

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It made the short-list for the very same reasons that they won the whole damn thing. It made the short-list at the expense of Sofia & Almaty, again for the very reasons why it won. Why can't people just admit to it.

And yes, your points are well taken, & I don't disagree, but it still contradicts your one sentence of the head of state influence.

But how does it contradict it? The short list evaulation scores are determined not on facilitries on the ground. They are determined on the bidders' plans and their feasibility for being able to carry out those plans. Sofia and Almaty were evaluated and judged not as confidently able to carry out those plans. Sochi put forward a plan that the evaulators accepted as requiring a lot of work to do, but judged that the Russian's had the ability and feasibility to carry out those plans.

For all those who are annoyed by "greenfields" games, remember that the winter games that most still judged as the most successful of all, Lillehammer's, were also a greenfields games that required a virtually totally new set of facilities which became assets afterwards. And the Norwegians had the oil money to pay for it. The Russians are proposing something similar, and also aren't short of energy funds to pay for them either.

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But how does it contradict it? The short list evaulation scores are determined not on facilitries on the ground. They are determined on the bidders' plans and their feasibility for being able to carry out those plans. Sofia and Almaty were evaluated and judged not as confidently able to carry out those plans. Sochi put forward a plan that the evaulators accepted as requiring a lot of work to do, but judged that the Russian's had the ability and feasibility to carry out those plans.

For all those who are annoyed by "greenfields" games, remember that the winter games that most still judged as the most successful of all, Lillehammer's, were also a greenfields games that required a virtually totally new set of facilities which became assets afterwards. And the Norwegians had the oil money to pay for it. The Russians are proposing something similar, and also aren't short of energy funds to pay for them either.

Well, it seems to contradict this, "such influence can only work if they have a 'decent, solid bid' to promote in the first place". In my POV, considering the 2014 E.C.R., Sochi's bid was not 'decent & solid' enough. If a Head of State is going to promote a bid at an Election Session, the bid obviously passed the preliminary technical evaluation process to get the short-list, so such a statement seems like a catch-22.

And while Sochi seemed to be modeling Lillehammer's plans, it still took the Norwegians two consecutive attempts to land the Games. The time needed to improve their bid. An element that the Russians needed too.

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Well, it seems to contradict this, "such influence can only work if they have a 'decent, solid bid' to promote in the first place". In my POV, considering the 2014 E.C.R., Sochi's bid was not 'decent & solid' enough. If a Head of State is going to promote a bid at an Election Session, the bid obviously passed the preliminary technical evaluation process to get the short-list, so such a statement seems like a catch-22.

And while Sochi seemed to be modeling Lillehammer's plans, it still took the Norwegians two consecutive attempts to land the Games. The time needed to improve their bid. An element that the Russians needed too.

Lillehammer plans for 1992 and 94 were exactly the same. No improvement there only more time to lobby. But that's not the point.

The problem with the current election procedure, as Roltel pointed out, is that once a candidate city has been chosen among the filed of applicant cities, it means that it is technically capable of hosting the games with a reasonable risk. From there, it means that basically the IOC members can vote for whatever candidate city for whatever reasons since the candidate cities are all capable of hosting the Games.

This is all the more true since the Evaluation Commission Reports tend to be absolutely neutral, especially in recent years. For 2014, the ECR clearly stated the Sochi was more risky than the other two but certainly did not imply that Sochi couldn't be ready ("would have to be closely monitored" is different from "would be a major challenge the commisssion is not convinced could be overcome within the 7 years time frame").

It seems we are back to square one in the bidding process. I don't know what the solution could be. I would be very much in favour of the Evaluation Commission actually ranking the cities (and giving reason why) but then, as an IOC member told me once, what would be the point of voting?

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Well, it seems to contradict this, "such influence can only work if they have a 'decent, solid bid' to promote in the first place". In my POV, considering the 2014 E.C.R., Sochi's bid was not 'decent & solid' enough. If a Head of State is going to promote a bid at an Election Session, the bid obviously passed the preliminary technical evaluation process to get the short-list, so such a statement seems like a catch-22.

And while Sochi seemed to be modeling Lillehammer's plans, it still took the Norwegians two consecutive attempts to land the Games. The time needed to improve their bid. An element that the Russians needed too.

I don't see how it can be. It got past the preliminaries, so it was clearly thought that it was a bid with potential. But it still has to be sold to the voting IOC members, and that is where Putin really comes in. I don't see any contradiction at all, to be perfectly honest.

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Remember Presidents can also have a negative effect on bids. Chirac didn't do much to boost Paris' bid in the end and may, depending if you believe what the papers said, have actually hindered it.

Also Blair, for all his lobbying, spoke to the IOC on a pre-recorded video whilst Chirac was there on the day for the presentation.

Anyway, 2012 is a complicated one: the 'head of state effect' is only a possible explanation for London upsetting the odds. A better presentation, a very different bid concept, and a well-loved athlete at the head of the bid team could have had more of an effect than Blair.

By banning heads of state you'll only end up discouraging involvement at the very top of national governments which is surely not what the IOC wants.

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The big disadvantage to having heads of state present at the selection meeting, that hasn't been mentioned, is the security. When someone like Bush or Putin or Blair attends, there are more people, more potentianl for kooks, the meeting is more likely to be seriously disrupted., and on and on....

Diana

Remember Presidents can also have a negative effect on bids. Chirac didn't do much to boost Paris' bid in the end and may, depending if you believe what the papers said, have actually hindered it.

Also Blair, for all his lobbying, spoke to the IOC on a pre-recorded video whilst Chirac was there on the day for the presentation.

Anyway, 2012 is a complicated one: the 'head of state effect' is only a possible explanation for London upsetting the odds. A better presentation, a very different bid concept, and a well-loved athlete at the head of the bid team could have had more of an effect than Blair.

By banning heads of state you'll only end up discouraging involvement at the very top of national governments which is surely not what the IOC wants.

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Those are practical problems which can all be overcome, though. Surely it is, or should be, more important to the IOC to ensure that Olympic bids and Olympic hostings go to the very highest levels of government.

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Sir Roltel, I have to agree that your first post there might have been a knee-jerk reaction to the two past IOC Session host city decisions, with Putin and Blair. Besides, I never heard of anything like this, when former Canadian prime minister, Jean Chretien, was present in Prague to hear Vancouver's win in 2003. To be honest, I do not know if the Chinese president was in Moscow to hear Beijing's win in 2001 then.

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What about countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Britain where our head of state and head of government are two different people and the non-head of state is dramaticly more powerful than the head of state.

I think the IOC should put spending limits on the biding, around 20 million, so that all bids are level. I think that is more important than no head of state.

Also I think the IOC should set budget restrictions on any host cities so that there is building orgies and cities will have to pre-build some things to present the IOC with something before hand.

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What about countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Britain where our head of state and head of government are two different people and the non-head of state is dramaticly more powerful than the head of state.

I think the IOC should put spending limits on the biding, around 20 million, so that all bids are level. I think that is more important than no head of state.

Also I think the IOC should set budget restrictions on any host cities so that there is building orgies and cities will have to pre-build some things to present the IOC with something before hand.

A budget on the bid might be a goer. A budget on the games certainly isn't. Where do you draw the line between Games facilities and the facilities and infrastructure improvements which are needed for the games but will also be of benifit afterwards (roads, airports, regeneration of brownfield sites etc.). You can't tell a government how to spend their money.

If the IOC is worried about governments using the Olympics as a prestige project, they already have a powerful tool; they simply don't vote for that nation's bid. The fact that they voted for Bejing and Sochi (and to a much lesser extent, London over Paris) suggests they aren't as worried as they ought to be; but that's their prerogative.

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Well, it seems to contradict this, "such influence can only work if they have a 'decent, solid bid' to promote in the first place". In my POV, considering the 2014 E.C.R., Sochi's bid was not 'decent & solid' enough.

Well, that's your opinion, but obviously it wasn't shared by more than half the IOC. And as many besides myself have pointed out, the impartial evaulation before the short list and later Evaluation Report were clear that they believed Sochi could be reasonably expected to successfully stage the event. After that was taken care of, the majority of the IOC membership felt there were more compelling reasons to reward Russia than Korea or Austria.

It's never easy for a losing bid team to swallow that their efforts have come to naught _ but it's always going to happen. I think you are letting your disappointment at PyeongChang's loss fuel a quite unreasonable hatred of Sochi. It's human nature to be disappointed if our personal favourites don't win through. The IOC might be venal and capricious, but they're not stupid _ they are not going to take an unacceptable risk and award the games to a site that they don't believe has the ability to stage them.

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What about countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Britain where our head of state and head of government are two different people and the non-head of state is dramaticly more powerful than the head of state.

That is a crucial point, which I think would also apply to countries such as Germany, Ireland, Italy and Israel to name four where the president is much more of a ceremonial position than in other countries. I mean, are you really going to stop Her Majesty The Queen from attending an IOC session? After all, she might want to catch up with her daughter.

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I have no problem with the heads of state/government attending the final stages of an Olympic bid. If anything it shows real enthusiasm and seriousness for the bid. The national government of a nation hosting the Olympics has to invest a lot of time and money - they are the most important people that the IOC should be in contact with really.

Worries that A-list/celebrity heads of state such as those of the G8 countries overshadow those of other nations is exaggerated - the IOC is full of royalty, political and sporting heirarchies - they are not likely to be star-struck.

It's not the attendance of world leaders that threatens the future hostings of smaller nations, or indeed the cost of an Olympic campaign, it's the size of the event itself - the IOC have shown how they want the maximum legacy, including massive building and regeneration projects that are beyond all but the richest countries. The 2016 Games will likely be decided with the same criteria whether the Emperor of Japan or President of America turn up or not.

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That seems to be the way it's going at the moment, but my feeling is that that is a phase and as soon as something does go badly wrong with a host city, they will go back towards bricks and mortar on the ground more.

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