IOC chief says reform or die
MONACO - The Olympic movement must bolster its credibility and transform its money-spinning Games before it is forced to change, IOC leader Thomas Bach warned Sunday ahead of votes on major reforms.
The International Olympic Committee has signed $10 billion in television and sponsorship deals this year, but must confront looming challenges or "we will be hit by them very soon," Bach told the opening of an IOC general meeting.
The IOC Session will on Monday and Tuesday vote on 40 proposals to curtail the cost of the Olympic Games while adding more sports without increasing athlete numbers.
The IOC's ethics commission will draw up new rules for Olympic leaders and an annual financial report will be released.
With a new wave of doping scandals hitting international sport, Bach said that more must be done to battle the "evils" of doping and corruption.
Bach, an Olympic gold medal winning fencer who has pursued a reform agenda since becoming president in September 2013, is also to unveil an Olympic television channel on Monday.
Bach said there had to be "important and far-reaching changes in the Olympic movement" because of a major shift in public attitudes and the world economy and politics.
"If we do not address these challenges here and now we will be hit by them very soon," the IOC chief said.
"If we do not drive these changes ourselves others will drive us to them.
Under his Agenda 2020, joint bids from different cities and even countries could be considered for Olympic Games. Measures will also be taken to cut the cost of bidding.
+ Increasing the number of sports from the current 28 -- a new sport could be invited every Games -- while capping the number of athletes and individual disciplines.
+ Calling on candidate cities "to present a project that fits their sporting, economic, social and environmental long-term planning needs" putting a new emphasis on sustainability.
+ Adding "non-discrimination on sexual orientation" to the Olympic Charter. This is one of the most controversial items for many conservative states.
The proposals are expected to be passed and the Olympic chief has said that once the votes are over, the organisers of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea and 2020 summer Games in Tokyo could be the first allowed to make changes to to save money and make them more attractive.
He said on Saturday that talks with the two hosts would start "immediately" if the changes are passed.
The 2012 London Olympics was widely hailed as a success and the summer Games remains a huge money earner with US channel NBC paying $7.75 billion for the broadcasting rights to the next six Games.
Bach said the IOC had signed $10 billion of sponsorship and television deals in 10 months this year.
Russia spent more than $50 billion on the Sochi Games this year and there are only two candidates -- Beijing and Kazakh city of Almaty -- for the 2022 Games.
Several key European cities pulled out either because the public voted against their candidatures in referenda or fears over the costs.
Without referring to new allegations of widespread doping in Russian athletics, Bach said there had to be a new campaign against drugs in sport.
"We have first and foremost to protect the clean athletes. We have to protect them from doping, match-fixing, manipulation and corruption," he said.
"We have to consider every single cent in the fight against these evils not as an expense but as an investment in the future of Olympic Sport," Bach added.