By Duncan Mackay in Lausanne
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

June 22 - All three cities bidding to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics are expected to be put forward to the next stage when the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ruling Executive Board meets here today.

An announcement is due to be made at 1.30pm local time by Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Executive Director for the Olympic Games, about whether Annecy, Munich and Pyeongchang have been awarded Candidate City status.

Willy Bogner, the chief executive of Munich 2018, claimed that with only three bidders it would be a major surprise if the IOC decided to cut any of them.

He said: "I expect all three candidates to make the next round.

"That is desirable for the IOC as well."

Bogner's view is shared by Britain's Sir Craig Reedie, a member of the IOC Executive Board.

He said: "With only three candidates, it would seem unlikely you would eliminate one."

It is the fewest number of bidders to host the Olympics since 1981 when only three cities put themselves forward to stage the 1988 Games, which were eventually awarded to Calgary.

Sir Craig blames the current worldwide economic crisis for the surprisingly few cities interested in hosting the 2018 Games.

He said: "We live in a more complicated financial world than before.

"You look at the [financial] concerns of Vancouver and London in this present climate, and the IOC should be pleased to have three first-class bids."

Providing all three of the cities are put forward to the next stage, the next milestone in the bidding process is on January 11, 2011, when they will have to submit their detailed proposals to the IOC.

That will then be followed by a series of visits by the IOC Evaluation Commission to the cities before the host city is selected at the IOC Session in Durban on July 6, 2011.

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