By Nick Butler at the Main Press Centre in Sochi

UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon will deliver the opening address at the IOC Session in Sochi ©Getty ImagesFebruary 3 - United Nations (UN) secretary general Ban Ki-moon will deliver the keynote address to open the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session here on Wednesday (Feburary 4).

The news, announced this afternoon by IOC President Thomas Bach, will mark the first occasion a UN secretary general has addressed an IOC Session.

It will also reverse the situation seen last November when Bach spoke at the UN General Assembly in New York - and similar themes encompassing the wider role of the Olympics in society can be expected again.

Speaking in a relaxed fashion here following yesterday's IOC Executive Board Meeting, Bach described how the IOC was "very honoured" by Ban Ki-moon's presence and looks forward to an "inspiring" speech.

He also described the IOC Session as the first step in an unprecedented "dialogue for change", with the outcomes of the debate to be discussed ahead of key decisions being made at December's Extraordinary Session in Monte Carlo.

Bach admitted that because the IOC has no experience of this form of general debate, he is unsure how it will go, but he "looks forward to the experience" and hopes it will be "lively with contributions with as many members as possible". 

IOC President Thomas Bach was in a relaxed mood as he looked forward to the IOC Session here ©Getty ImagesIOC President Thomas Bach was in a relaxed mood as he looked forward to the IOC Session here ©Getty Images

Speaking more specifically about the various areas the debate will address, Bach highlighted once again the prospect of new sports being added to a more flexible Olympic programme.

He expressed hope the discussion will be related to procedural issues rather than specific sports, and highlighted the decision to introduce demonstration events in sport climbing, roller sports and skateboarding to the Nanjing 2014 Summer Youth Olympic programme less than a year before the Games take place, as evidence of this more ad-hoc approach.

Although he stands by the importance of the seven-year rule on introducing new sports onto the programme, he also admitted that if IOC members, sporting federations and Organising Committees all agree on a particular sport, the seven-year rule is "effectively obsolete". 

Bach also suggested changes to the Olympic Charter remain possible - describing it as "not set in stone" as "we have to evolve and adapt to modern times".

"The principles are the same - concerning the role of sport in society - but if amendments to the Charter are required to maintain this I'm sure IOC members will be ready to do so," he predicted.  

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