David Owen head and shouldersThe Evaluation Commission's report is not always a lot of help when it comes to pinpointing the next Olympic winner.

There is a very good reason for that: it is not its job.

It is a technical risk assessment exercise that ensures that the 100-plus International Olympic Committee (IOC) members who will in September decide the host-city of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games go about their task with eyes open.

In this sense, the most important single sentence in the 110-page document compiled by Evaluation Commission chair, Sir Craig Reedie, and his team is undoubtedly this one:

"The Commission confirms that each of three Candidate Cities could host the 2020 Olympic Games though, by the very nature of their vision and concept, the risks associated with each project are different."

IOC members, you are now free to cast your votes without fear of being branded reckless - not convincingly so, at any rate.

Because of its unusually clear, to-the-point language, however, today's document does enable the reader to appreciate the chief considerations the electorate are likely to be weighing as they "enter", in inverted commas, the Buenos Aires voting-booths.

It leaves no room for doubt that what we have here is a contest between two cities - Madrid and Tokyo - already endowed with everything that they need in terms of non-sporting infrastructure to host a Games and a third contender - Istanbul - requiring massive investment, over $10 billion in roads, railways and power and electrical kit, to be ready.

It is scarcely surprising, under such circumstances, that one emerges from the report with the sense that Reedie and his team have sounded more cautionary notes about Istanbul - even pre-protests - than its two rivals, although the weakness of the Spanish economy has certainly not escaped their attention.

Sir Craig Reedie in a tram Istanbul March 2013Sir Craig Reedie (centre) enjoyed his ride in an underground train in Istanbul but his report into the 2020 bids has sounded a cautionary note on how much work needs to be done there

And yet, if you cast your mind back to 2009 in Copenhagen, this is exactly the position IOC members were left with once they had jettisoned Chicago in the first round of the 2016 race - and, guess what, the candidate with most to do on the infrastructural front won.

The imponderable in the 2020 contest, and my guess is it will remain so all the way through until the vote on September 7, is "Does the financial squeeze that so many of us have endured mean that less ambitious sports projects are more in keeping with the mood of the times?"

And, if this is the case, "Will this transformed backdrop penetrate the IOC's thinking?"

This is a Movement, remember, whose own revenues have stayed serenely untouched by recession, so it is hard to be certain how much - if at all - hard times outside the bubble will have altered this famously inscrutable electorate's mindset.

One sign that some insiders are perhaps alive to the changing context comes on page eight of the Commission's report.

Entitled "Going beyond IOC requirements", this passage underlines the IOC's efforts to "manage the cost, size and complexity of organising the Olympic Games", but says that "throughout recent bid processes", it has witnessed "a growing tendency by cities to try to go above and beyond IOC requirements.

"Whilst such offers may appeal to a certain client group or represent 'nice to haves', the future [Organising Committee] inevitably finds itself facing additional costs to deliver services that have not been requested by the IOC."

Sir Craig Reedie Tokyo March 2013Sir Craig Reedie has had to warn Tokyo 2020 to remove some incentives from their bid

The report goes on to administer what amounts to a carefully-worded ticking-off to two of the 2020 bids, saying:

"The Istanbul 2020 Candidature File makes several references to an innovation fund ('a dedicated budget of $250 million will be held by the Prime Minister of Turkey for allocation exclusively to projects determined by and with the IOC and IPC Presidents').

"In addition, references are also made to the provision of [National Olympic Committee] pre-Games training facilities and cash grants, as well as an extended freight grant programme for all [National Olympic Committees and National Paralympic Committees].

"With regard to the 'innovation fund', Istanbul 2020 was instructed to revise all references to this in the electronic version of its Candidature File to reflect explanations accepted by the IOC during a meeting with the bid committee that the aim of this fund is in fact to create legacies for and from the Games related to Turkey's overall youth agenda.

"The Tokyo 2020 Candidature File includes a commitment to cover the NOCs' cargo costs.

"Following discussions with the IOC Istanbul and Tokyo were instructed to refrain from making any reference to the proposals originally made in the Candidature File in any presentation or written document which might be distributed prior to the election of the host city.

"The IOC received written confirmations from both Istanbul and Tokyo and these matters are now closed."

I am sure, particularly in view of that last sentence, that these "matters" will have no bearing on the final outcome of this race.

But if the IOC's action reduces pressure on future bidders to make potentially costly extra commitments in their zeal to land what admittedly is a fabulously glittering prize, then that would be a good outcome for the Movement, at a time when spending on elite sports competitions is coming under question.

David Owen worked for 20 years for the Financial Times in the United States, Canada, France and the UK. He ended his FT career as sports editor after the 2006 World Cup and is now freelancing, including covering the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 World Cup and London 2012. To follow him on Twitter click here