December 3 - The six cities contending to host the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will begin an 18 month bidding process here tomorrow with an International Olympic Committee (IOC) orientation seminar where various expectations and requirements will be explained.
The three day event marks the first stage of the process since each city - Almaty, Beijing, Krakow, Lviv, Oslo, and Stockholm - confirmed their respective applications last month.
It should provide each with a vital opportunity to understand what the IOC is looking for before they submit their application files next year.
Tomorrow's programme begins with information about the bid process itself and this includes details of both the Observer Programme and the role of IOC Ethics Commission.
There will then be further talks on "vision and the Olympic Games product", the "London Games legacy and sport" and "athletes and International Federation's" before the remainder of the afternoon is dedicated to Games Services, accommodation and transport.
On Thursday (December 5) the focus will be on financial, marketing and legal aspects as well as media and technology, sustainability and the Paralympic Games, while Friday (December 6) will be dedicated to private meetings between each of bid city and IOC groups related to these areas.
As was seen most recently during the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Game race a huge variety of factors can influence the bid and the aim of this event it to make the extent of these clear to each delegation.
Even in these early stages, the 2022 race already looks an intriguing one - with political backgrounds, dual-hosts and wavering support already three issues to the fore.
For the two joint bids - a Polish and Slovakian centred on Krakow and a Chinese one in both Beijing and Zhangjiakou - the challenge will be convincing the IOC of the merits of an unprecedented dual bid.
For the Ukrainian city of Lviv, meanwhile, the early hurdle is the ongoing demonstrations against the Government.
The Kazakh city of Almaty was the first to declare its candidacy but it is the two Scandinavian cities of Oslo and Stockholm who appear the early front runners.
While support for Oslo's bid was seen in the passing of a referendum the biggest challenge for Stockholm appears to be convincing IOC members of enthusiasm following the fact that they only declared interest at a very late stage amid doubts over Government support.
Following the three day seminar here, the six bids will answer a detail IOC questionnaire which will be submitted as part of the application files next March shortly after Sochi 2014.
The IOC will then consider the applications in the Spring before shortlisting the candidate cities at the Executive Board Meeting in July.
In the second phase candidature by the successful cities will be due in January 2015, after which an IOC Evaluation Commission will visit each city to prepare a technical report to assist IOC members in making their decision.
There will then be a two-day briefing where Members can see the Evaluation Commission Reports and question each candidate city.
A final decision is due to be made at the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpa on July 31, 2015.
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