IOC members approved the reforms to the bid process today ©IOC

International Olympic Committee (IOC) members have approved a series of proposals set to dramatically change the bidding process for the Olympic Games, including ending the seven-year period before the event is awarded and creating powerful commissions to control the selection of the host city.

The IOC Session gave unanimous backing to the changes, including those to the Olympic Charter, here today.

It marked the latest step in a considerable overhaul of the troubled bid process.

The alterations, initiated following a spate of withdrawals for recent edition of the Summer and Winter Olympics will come into force once the Executive Board has determined how exactly they will be implemented but they could be used to select the host from as early as 2030.

Under the reforms, devised by a working group chaired by Australia's John Coates, a flexible timeline has been installed by removing from the Olympic Charter the requirement for the host city to be elected seven years in advance.

Separate Future Host Commissions will be set up for the Summer and Winter Games to replace the current IOC Evaluation Commission.

They will comprise 10 and eight members, respectively, and will be tasked with targeting and eventually recommending cities or joint-bid concepts to the IOC Executive Board before it is put to the Session.

The Session will remain the supreme body for the host city election but it is likely to have less of a say than under the previous process.

The changes were made following proposals made by a working group chaired by John Coates ©IOC
The changes were made following proposals made by a working group chaired by John Coates ©IOC

IOC President Thomas Bach has admitted it is possible only one candidate could be proposed to stage the Games by the Executive Board based on the recommendation of the Future Host Commission.

The Future Host Commissions, which have become part of the Charter following Session approval, will be made up of members who do not sit on the Executive Board.

The IOC Executive Board will choose the members on each of the two Commissions, while officials will be removed from the panel if their city or country is among those to express an interest in hosting the Games.

Cities considering entering the race for future editions of the Olympic Games will be asked to hold a referendum if so required before they can be considered as a candidate.

"We cannot, I suggest, continue to be damaged as we have in the past," Coates told the Session.

A change to the charter to reflect how candidatures can come from multiple cities, regions or countries was also approved and the Host City Contract will now simply be called the "Host Contract".

The changes on how the Olympic Games host will be picked follows Bach claiming that, under the current model, there are "too many losers".

In future, there might not be an election at all and the IOC Session will mainly be asked to approve a candidate to stage the Games.

Changes to the Olympic Charter regarding the process to award host cities was approved by the Session ©IOC
Changes to the Olympic Charter regarding the process to award host cities was approved by the Session ©IOC

The IOC has also claimed the updated process offers greater flexibility, while Coates suggested further double awards following the decision to give Paris and Los Angeles the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games, respectively, in 2017 were "fully possible".

Coates told reporters that it was now up to cities to understand the new system now the radical changes have been given the green light.

"The challenge for them is to understand that this is not just putting up a candidature and rolling along with that for a number of years and then being considered before a vote by the Session," he said.

"This should lead to a much more thorough appraisal at a much earlier stage but on the positive side gives them the opportunity to be told it is is not good enough.

"You have got to show us that you have the Government support if you want to take this forward, for example.

"If you don't, we will continue to work with you towards a later one."

The approval followed extensive questioning at the Session, with IOC doyen Richard Pound warning of the potential issue of Future Host City Commissions members approaching cities directly and without prior approval from the group.

"We have been pronounced dead on many occasions," Pound said.

"We cannot change the winds but we can adjust our sails.

"We can’t have people in dinghies rowing secretly ashore, there has to be some indication of interest."