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Bach offers squash Tokyo 2020 lifeline

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Olympic Agenda plans could give squash renewed hope for 2020 Games

NEWLY elected International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach is planning to implement his so-called Olympic Agenda 2020 by the end of next year, with the possible addition of further sports being added to the 2020 Games. 

Bach unveiled his latest plans to the IOC’s Executive Board on Saturday and also revealed that the Olympic bidding process could be altered in 12 months time.

Thomas Bach (left) pictured with the South African President Jacob Zuma (right)

“These results of this brainstorming meeting will now be forwarded to the IOC session for further debate in Sochi in February where we will have one to one-and-a-half days of general debate,” Bach told reporters during a conference call from Switzerland where the meeting took place.

After Sochi, stakeholders will be asked to deliver specific recommendations that will be proposed to members in Monaco from December 6 to 7 in 2014, an event that is scheduled to be hosted by IOC member Prince Albert.

Bach refrained from disclosing the finer details of his meeting in Montreux, instead waiting until he is able to inform the general membership.

“This is why we think that this Olympic Agenda 2020 needs the effective approval of an extraordinary session and we cannot be satisfied with the approval of the Executive Board alone.”

Since Bach (pictured left) was elected President in September, he has committed to changing the Olympic bid process by reducing costs and promoting creativity and sustainability. Earlier this month, he convinced some 2022 Winter Games bidders to develop their bid plans in-house and without leveraging external consultants. 

Bach said more constructive discussion took place in Montreux that will further streamline the bid process and lead to changes in Monaco. To get things started, the Executive Board decided to establish a working group on cost management for the Games.

“Because the 2022 Olympic Winter Games Candidatures are already underway we could not wait any longer, we already decided to encourage the bidding cities to make the broadest possible use of temporary and/or dismountable facilities.”

During his candidacy for President, Bach also committed to discuss the reinstatement of member visits to bid cities after they were abolished to fight corruption after the Salt Lake City scandal in 1998.

The meeting also left the doors open for new sports to join the Tokyo 2020 program, good news for the World Squash Federation and the Baseball and Softball Federation after both sports lost out to wrestling when the IOC voted for its inclusion at the September session in Buenos Aires.

“There is a chance [a sport could be added] because if everybody agrees then we do not need to apply this seven-year rule and we could take any decision at the end of next year.”

Bach’s comments come less than three weeks after the 59-year-old revealed that discussions had already taken place to change the quota of sports for the 2020 Games.

Source: Robert Livingstone (GamesBid.com), Picture featuring Thomas Bach courtesy of the South Africa Government Online

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