U.S. files papers for possible 2020 bid

The U.S. and South African Olympic committees told The Associated Press on Monday that they submitted forms confirming compliance with rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency and Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The documents were filed before Saturday, the deadline set by the International Olympic Committee.

Italy, Japan and Spain also said they sent their forms. Turkey and Qatar would not confirm they filed the papers, but are believed to have done so.

The compliance forms are a new IOC requirement ahead of the formal bid process.

National Olympic Committees have until Sept. 1 to submit the names of any 2020 applicant cities to the IOC.

The IOC said it would not disclose which countries filed the compliance forms and would wait until Sept. 1 to confirm any bids.

Rome, Tokyo and Madrid have all formally declared their 2020 bids, while Istanbul is expected to announce its candidacy soon. Doha, Qatar, is also a potential contender if the IOC approves a change in dates because of the searing summer temperatures in the Gulf city.

The possibility of a U.S. or South Africa bid remains uncertain.

“We submitted compliance papers as a matter of protocol,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in an email. “We did not submit a city name along with them. We just signed them as the NOC.”

The USOC reiterated that it would not consider a bid unless and until it finalizes a new revenue-sharing deal with the IOC.

“At this point our focus is on completing our financial deal with the IOC and we are not currently considering a 2020 bid,” Sandusky said.

The two sides reported significant progress in their latest revenue talks in New York on July 22 and said they hope to sign a final deal soon.

The dispute centers on the USOC’s long-standing 20 percent cut of global sponsorship revenues and 12.75 share of U.S. broadcast rights deals. Many IOC and international sports officials consider the U.S. share excessive. Any new formula would take effect after 2020.

The U.S. hasn’t hosted a Summer Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games. Among U.S. cities mentioned as potential bidders for 2020 include New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis and Tulsa, Okla.

South Africa announced in May that it would not bid for the 2020 Olympics, saying it had more pressing national priorities. Since then, however, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has sought to revive a bid. He is scheduled to petition the cabinet in the next week and a decision is expected around Aug. 10.

“As it stands, we don’t have a bid, unless Mr. Mbalula manages to change the cabinet decision,” Tubby Reddy, chief executive of the South African Olympic committee, told the AP on Monday. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Durban is considered the most likely South African bid city, although Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth have not been ruled out.

Last weekend also marked the deadline for national committees to propose any change from the traditional Summer Olympics dates between July 15 and Aug. 31.

That would affect Doha, where summer temperatures regularly hit 108 degrees. Another Gulf city — Dubai, United Arab Emirates — announced last Friday that it would not bid for 2020 and will instead focus on a possible 2024 candidacy.

The head of media for the Qatar Olympic Committee was coy when asked Monday whether the Gulf state had decided to seek the 2020 games. Hassan Abdullah al-Mohammadi told the AP by email: “I will inform you if there is any update.”

Doha bid for the 2016 Olympics, but failed to make the shortlist of finalists, mainly because of concerns over the heat and change of dates. Last year, FIFA awarded Qatar the 2022 World Cup, due to be held in the summer.

IOC President Jacques Rogge told the AP last week that any proposed Doha dates would be reviewed by the executive board in Daegu, South Korea, in late August before the world athletics championships.

“It’s a decision that will be based first of all on the health of the athletes,” he said.

Rogge said the Olympics are different from the World Cup, including Qatar’s plans for air conditioned stadiums in 2022.

“We have the marathon. We have the triathlon. We have the road race, the walk event in track and field,” he said. “You cannot just have that in July/August. It’s impossible.”


 

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