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India’s Olympics bid: From multiple stages of dialogue to guarantees, long process before India could be awarded Games in 2036

After PM Modi revealed that India will bid to host the Olympics, Express explains — with the help of IOC’s Future Olympic Games Hosts Director — how the process unfolds before the hosting rights are awarded for holding the Games.

On Saturday evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi revealed India’s ambition to host the Olympics in 2036, stating that the administration would “leave no stone unturned” in getting the Games to the country for the first time.

It is learnt that the Indian government and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will form a joint committee in the coming weeks to explore the way ahead for the bid. There will be no decision on awarding the 2036 Olympics at least until the IOC’s election next year. It must also be noted that the bid to host the Olympics does not have to be restricted to just one city, it can be a multi-city, a regional, or even a “multi-nation” bid.

Even before PM Modi made the announcement at the Opening Ceremony of the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai, it is learnt that India had already sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee to join continuous dialogue a “little while ago”. It is also learnt that the IOC members had an “informal catch up” with IOA chief PT Usha and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on the sidelines of the IOC Session.

In the coming years, India will need to take many giant leaps before they are awarded the Olympics. Zaa News got Jacqueline Barrett, who is the Future Olympic Games Hosts Director, and IOC’s Director of Corporate and Sustainable Development, Marie Sallois, to break down what will happen next.

When will the Games be awarded?

Tokyo and Paris were awarded the Olympics seven years before the Games were to be hosted. Brisbane was awarded the 2032 Games 11 years before the Games.

Barrett, who is the Future Olympic Games Hosts Director, pointed out that there is no fixed deadline in place to make a decision as to who will host the 2036 Olympics. She added that the decision could be kept as late as 2030.

“We’re not setting artificial deadlines. Things are changing exponentially fast in the world. Be it geopolitically, from the social point of view, or economically. It’s too early today to say what might be the situation in 2036. We have been very clear to say that for the next Summer Games in 2036, it’ll be the responsibility of the next IOC leadership (the election will happen in 2025),” said Barrett before adding that a decision for 2036 might not be taken before 2026-27, potentially even later.

What are the stages that any bid goes through before the IOC accepts it?

Once a city or a region sends a letter to the IOC signalling its intent to host a future edition of the Olympics, the IOC gets into a “continuous dialogue phase” with them. It must be noted that the continuous dialogue does not specifically have to be regarding the 2036 Games. It could also be about a later edition as well.

There is no real timeline for how long the continuous dialogue phase might last as this is a non-committal stage (a host city can dip its feet in the water and back out). Once there is a seriousness in a bid to progress to the next level, the bid will enter the “targeted dialogue phase” where a city/region would be known as a preferred host city.

“The nature of this continuous dialogue is that there is no start or end. It’s an exchange process, where we go at the pace of the interested parties. The idea is to develop each project at its own speed,” said Barrett. “Continuous dialogue is not edition specific. It does not force anybody into hosting an Olympics in a year that might not be right for them.”

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