Monte Carlo blog


By Nick Butler, Duncan Mackay and David Owen at the Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo
Click refresh for latest updates. All times stated are Monacan

BREAKING: Kosovo accepted as an IOC member and Lima awarded 2017 IOC Session

Join us again in the New Year for another insidethegames live blog but, for now, it is good bye from Monte Carlo. 

I will also leave you with David Owen's latest exclusive, on Sepp Blatter's views on when the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held. Could it be January or February, and a collision course with the IOC, after all? Read his views here.

We will finish with a quote from one of the more vocal IOC members over the course of the Session, Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry, which sums up the next goal for the IOC. Although they may be allowed the Christmas period first to celebrate.

Twitter logo
End of a very successful Session, now time to implement.
Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe wraps up proceedings. Onto the next challenge now for Bach and the IOC.

But, with lots of articles to write, and people to interview, we are going to wrap up proceedings on the insidethegames live blog. There have been less thrills and spills than we were perhaps expecting, but it has still been a very entertaining few days.

At the end of it all we have 40 new recommendations, with changes to the Olympic sports programme and bidding procedure the most interesting elements. Kosovo's addition as an IOC member, is the most other interesting development. 

So the IOC got together for a picture and then many were happy to stop and chat with the media afterwards, as ever. Lots of positive reactions to Agenda 2020, as well to the acceptance of Kosovo as an IOC member. Bach then gave another press conference, where the question of Dick Pound in the miscellaneous section of proceedings today was raised. Bach gave a similar answer to given earlier in the day, that all appropriate precautions have been given.
Thomas Bach speaking at the end of the Session ©Getty Images


13:05 The Session is then declared closed by Thomas Bach. The members will gather for the traditional group photo before lunch.

Twitter logo#IOC Session closes & major nations #India, #Austria, #SaudiArabia without IOC members due to resignations/ retirements.Scramble to replace.
- Interesting point raised here by Olympic consultant Michael Payne. 

13:01 "It was important to make change before we were forced," he says. "I am sure our decisions will further enhance the Olympic Movement. The implementation stage is now very important but I am confident it will be successful."

He praises the IOC administration and plans for the new headquarters. "We have no doubt we elected the right leader one year ago in Buenos Aires. These reforms have already changes the IOC and you can be confident in the support of the members, as has been expressed here in Monaco."

The longest round of applause of the Session then begins.

12:57 And now it is left to the "doyen" of the IOC, senior member Vitali Smirnov, to make some closing remarks. He wishes Prince Albert and Princess Charlene all the best with the coming birth. Then he moves on to Agenda 2020...

Twitter logoCongrats #Kosovo, one of our national member associations, on officially being accepted as an NOC#Olympic @insidethegames
- A good tweet here congratulating Kosovo from World Archery, whose Turkish President, Uğur Erdener, has been a staunch ally, including on the IOC Executive Board in recent months.

12:48 There is one final question, essentially just praising the Agenda 2020 process, from Samih Moudallal of Syria, and then we are onto the customary congratulations for the Organising Committee and all the others involved in the 127th IOC Session. 

But that Dick Pound contribution was very interesting. One of the only breaks from the script we have seen over the two days. And he's got a point, although to restart the process now would be very difficult, not to mention unfair on Almaty and Beijing.

Claudia Bokel is the subject of Richard Peterkin's latest tweet ©Twitter

12:40 Onto the miscellaneous section now. Syed Shahid Ali asks the first questions (doesn't he always) about having a detailed and updated list of IOC staff. But then a very interesting one from Canada's Dick Pound, calling for the 2022 Olympic race to be restarted in order to ensure a "level playing field" following the Agenda 2020 proposals.

Bach's response: "We have come to the conclusion the IOC is delivering on the commitments and the contacts. We have delivered applications some time ago, and cities have applied and followed the rules. We have chosen the candidates and will continue this procedure based on the rules in force, and will 100 per cent stick to all commitments and contractual obligations. Therefore there will be no change to the procedure and this is the decision of the IOC Executive Board."

12:33 And Cherni Mizouni of Tunisia, the first woman to represent her country at the Olympics, wins the IOC World Women in Sport award. She calls it an "emblem of pride and happiness".

12:30 Women in Sport Awards have so far been handed to Kuwait's Sheikha Al Sabah, Russian synchronised swimmer Anastasia Davidova, United States swimmer Nancy Hogshead, Australian cyclist Sian Mulholland and Egyptian modern pentathlete Aya Medani. There was one nomination for each continent.

Duncan Mackay"World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset has been a bit slow off the mark in responding to the adoption of Agenda 2020, but has finally given his opinion. 'This is a significant moment for the Olympic Movement and World Rugby is delighted to have contributed to the Olympic Agenda 2020 process. We fully support the recommendations and look forward to working with the IOC to bring them to life.
As a modern, thriving sport, rugby is acutely aware of the importance of youth, sustainability and credibility in an increasingly congested entertainment and sporting landscape and World Rugby is committed to living the recommendations and sharing relevant expertise as we build towards our Olympic Games return at Rio 2016.'"

Twitter logoTime to honor amazing women in sport and thank them for all the great work they do in their communities.
Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry speaks excitedly about the Women and Sport Awards.

12:22 Back to the action and we are onto the Women in Sport Awards. 

12:16 Peterkin has also joined Michael Payne is expressing an opinion on the tie. Now even IOC members are making fun of it. Surely there is someone who likes the green and pink? He is responding to our naming of him as the "IOC member-of-the-match" for his questions yesterday.

Richard Peterkin has voiced his opinions on the tie ©Twitter

Twitter logo4 new Honorary members elected. There are now 34 Honorary Members. No limit on numbers. Rule for 10 years as member could be reduced to 8
- St Lucia's Richard Peterkin highlights the new IOC honorary members

12:10 Princess Haya gives a short speech, where she apologises to the members for all the "late night" phone calls about the sport. 

Princess Haya at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy in August ©Getty Images

12:04 Three Olympic Order's have now been given, with Randhir Singh, Prince Nawaf Faisal Fahd Abdulaziz and Melitón Sanchez Riva also giving a short address of gratitude after.

It is turning into a good few minutes for royals, as Princess Haya of United Arab Emirates is about to receive an Award as well. Her illustrious CV, which has included sport "since she was born", is being read out now. Princess Haya Al Hussein is stepping down as International Equestrian Federation President this year, with her successor to be appointed later this month.

"You are a great role-model for women around the world," concludes Bach.

11:55 Before this happens, there is time to read an exclusive story just published on insidethegames by David Owen: Sports bodies concerned Tokyo 2020 changes could affect up to 14 sports. So another fascinating implication of the Agenda 2020 shift regard Olympic venues, with repercussions for a huge number of sports on the programme. 

Kaspar first beneficiary of IOC age limit extension

11:52 Bach is now proposing IOC honorary members: Jean Claude Killy of France, Randhir Singh of India, Prince Nawaf Faisal Fahd Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and Leo Wallner of Austria.

A fifth will soon follow, with Melitón Sanchez Rivas of Panama due to become one when he passes his 80th birthday at the end of the year, and consequently ceases to be an IOC member. All will be awarded an Olympic Order, except for Killy who already has one. Due to illness, Wallner is also not here to receive his Order today, but the other three will receive them now.

Gian Franco Kaspar pictured in Sochi 2014 ©Getty Images

11:47 Before the vote on Kaspar, Bach is explaining a safety measure introduced on the roof of the Grimaldi Forum due to the strong winds today. But the votes are now in, and the extension of Kaspar's membership is accepted, with 72 votes out of the 77 cast. There were also three abstentions. 

11:40 We will come back to Kosovo, but in the Session they are straight on to the question of IOC membership so we will focus on that for the time being.

And they are proposing to extend the IOC membership of International Skiing Federation Gian Franco Kaspar for the duration of his FIS Presidency, so until June 30, 2018. Kaspar will be 71 on January 24, which, funnily enough, is the same birthday as me. A prestigious date.

He will therefore become the first beneficiary of the new rule introduced yesterday regarding age limits, and the exceptions to the current limit of 70. 

Kosovo accepted as IOC member

11:36 They are now preparing for Rio and fully support Olympic Agenda 2020, Hasani concludes, before presenting a special plaque to Bach. 

11:33 Kosovo is accepted as a full member of the IOC! "An example of the autonomy and independence of sport," says Kosovo Olympic Committee President Besim Hasani afterwards. He specifically thanks the NOC of Serbia for their cooperation, interestingly, before heralding "a new era for the Olympic Movement in Kosovo".

11:32 They have rolled out some heavy hitters to support this one, but this is such a controversial issue politically, could there be some opposition?

Kosovo Olympic Committee President Besim Hasani ©ITG

11:29 Very interestingly, ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah is now speaking. He praises countries, including Serbia, for their cooperation. European Olympic Committees head Patrick Hickey then speaks. He confirms Kosovo would become the 50th EOC member and compete at the inaugural European Games next year in Baku.

11:20 Coffee has been drunk and the Session is about to recommence. And next up is the biggest item of the day, the recognition of Kosovo as a member of the IOC.

Before the vote is taken, there will be a speech by the IOC's Director of NOC Relations, Peré Miró. This is an issue we have covered in huge detail here at insidethegames over recent years. Here is our article on the IOC Executive Board's decision to grant provisional recognition in October, and here is our blog reacting to the decision.

Lima awarded 130th IOC Session in 2017

10:50 On that note, we have broken for coffee, so there will be a few minutes break in proceedings.

10:46 Lima wins with 54 votes in comparison with 30 for Helsinki. The Peruvian capital was always the favourite. And, just to reiterate, that is where the 2024 Olympics will be awarded, so could it be a good omen for Pan-America, and could a winning US bid be crowned there?

Qatar, Azerbaijan, Germany, Turkey, France, Italy and South Africa might have something to say about that.

10:44 We are now being explained the procedure for voting. Iván Dibós is not allowed to vote, as a Peruvian, and nor is Peter Tallberg, although he is not here anyway. Thomas Bach also hands back his slip, but may enter the contest in the case of a tie.

Italy's Mario Pescante is causing trouble. He entered the room after the voting slips were handed out and then requests one. But he is not allowed, he was too late. "Thank you for your understanding," says De Kepper. Voting is taking place now...

Twitter logoCome to Peru and you get to visit Machu Picchu. Tough to beat. If I was a betting man, I would bet on Lima for 2017
- Another tweet from St Lucia's Richard Peterkin. Lima is seen as the favoured candidate

Golden Rings Awards were presented last night ©IOC
10:34 While we wait for that, here is our report on last night's Golden Rings Awards, where NBC, perhaps unsurprisingly, topped the bill.

10:32 Lima concludes it's presentation. "We will not let you down." The vote will be in a few moments time.

Twitter logoWonder Women takes the majority vote. President Bach gracefully thanks Spiderman for being a good sport.
- Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry on the most important vote of the Session

The test vote during the IOC Session ©Twitter

10:20 Lima is drawing on its growing pedigree as a major event location, with the city awarded the 2019 Pan American Games last year. If successful, it would mark the third IOC Session in South America in a four year period, following last year's event in Buenos Aires and the 2016 one in Rio de Janeiro. 

10:15 No questions from the IOC members, so Lima is up, with Peruvian IOC member Iván Dibós, the fifth longest serving member speaking first. He then introduces Peruvian Olympic Committee President, José Quiñones González, who was elected a member of the Association of National Olympic Committees Executive Council in Bangkok last month.

10:08 Interesting presentation from Helsinki, giving an impression of a much sunnier, warmer city than you might automatically think of when Finland is raised. "I have very good memories of Helsinki," says Duncan Mackay. The city's Olympic heritage is another key theme. It is pity that Peter Tallberg, the second longest serving IOC member, is ill and not attending this Session, as he would have been another good ambassador. 

10:02 We asked Richard Peterkin who he chose in the test vote, and he replied with this picture. Fairly obvious then...

Richard Peterkin makes his mock election choice very clear ©Twitter

 Onto the serious stuff now and Helsinki has begun its presentation to host the 2017 IOC Session, an important one because the 2024 Olympic host will be chosen there. The year would mark the 100 year anniversary of the country, we are told. Independence was declared from Russia in 1917 following the Bolshevik Revolution. 

Electronic test vote

09:52 The suspense is killing us, but, we were wrong, Wonder Woman wins with 52 votes! Well I never, the death of sexism at the IOC...

"The hero of the IOC Session," declared Bach. "But I thank Super Man for a good contest and for taking the silver medal." This joke is wearing a bit thin now.

09:47 "Now for the fun part," says Bach. "We are going to have a test vote to use the electronic procedure." We then getting an video-explanation, during which Bach seems to forget to turn his microphone off, so we can here him chortling in the background. 

And then it gets really weird. "We are going to use superhero in the test vote," says De Kepper, "Press five for Spiderman  or seven for Wonder Woman." 

"Mr Gilady does not have a voting card," he adds. "Please give him one as a birthday present."

Who is going to win this? The consensus in the Media Room is Spiderman. "They haven't yet got full gender equality in the IOC, of course," says one journalist. We shall see. It should certainly be closer than yesterday votes, and will a closed system change their preferences? Would members have been afraid to back Wonder Woman in public?

Plans for new IOC headquarters

The IOC headquarters in Lausanne during the floods of 2012

Twitter logo
Great new designs for the consolidation of the new IOC HQ in Lausanne. Will cost 160 million Swiss Francs. 80% loan financing at 1.45%.
- St Lucia's Richard Peterkin tweets approvingly about the proposed headquarters

09:36 Lots of questions now, from Syed Shahid Ali yet again, but also from Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Samih Moudallal and Lambis Nikolaou of Greece. The IOC will choose only one bank to work with, Ng explains, adding that the IOC have concluded it is a perfect time financially to consider investing.

09:32 Over a 20 year period, rent would cost CHF100 million and would therefore be a less attractive prospect that getting a mortgage, taking advantage of good interest rates, IOC Finance Commission chairman Ser Miang Ng of Singapore is now explaining. They have already had offers from several banks. 

09:27 It was announced in April that the IOC have hired Danish architectural firm 3Xarchitectural firm 3XA has been hired to develop new headquarters, with the firm beating off competition from a list of 12 firms, also including London-based architects Amanda Levete and Farshid Moussavi in addition to OMA, Toyo Ito and Diller Scofidio and Renfro. The old headquarters, remember, flooded terribly in 2012.

09:20 And next up it is progress regarding the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. A fairly detailed presentation from De Kepper now, and just as I realise I haven't really been concentrating enough to hear what he is saying, a video begins to make everything clearer. Excellent.

The current IOC headquarters in Lausanne ©Getty Images

09:16 We are beginning with a report by IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper about a proposal to give special member status for IOC members in Switzerland to make things easier when they visit Lausanne. It will not apply for IOC members however, not for their spouses. 

This is the subject of the first question of the day, from the same man who asked the first question yesterday, Syed Shahid Ali of Pakistan.

09:10 Thomas Bach opens proceeding with around of applause to mark the birthday of Israel's IOC member Alex Gilady. He then reiterates what he said yesterday about thanking IOC members for backing all the Agenda 2020 proposals, despite any questions and concerns they may have had. 

09:05 So, coming up today we have the election of the host city for the 2017 IOC Session, where the 2024 Olympic Games will be awarded, with Lima and Helsinki the two contenders, as well as the all-important vote to recognise Kosovo as a full IOC member.
Women and Sport Awards, the election of new IOC honorary members and Women and Sport Awards are other items on the agenda, but we are not expecting proceedings to drag out too long. 

Claudia Bokel posts the first IOC member photo-tweet of the morning ©Twitter

09:00 But although Agenda 2020 has finished, there are still a few things to wrap up this morning, and the IOC members are now being urged to take their seats. 

08:52 It was a long, long day yesterday, but a successful one, with all 40 of the Agenda 2020 recommendations unanimously passed by the membership. But was it a day of huge significance for the Olympic Movement, or a bit of a damp squib? 

Well, opinions have differed but there's no doubt what IOC President Thomas Bach thinks. This will be a positive day," he said afterwards, when asked if December 8, 2014 would be remembered in 20 years time. "We took the right decisions with a vision for the future of the Olympic Movement." You can read more about his reactions here.

All our other reports from yesterday can be accessed here, while David Owen's blog on the repercussions of Agenda 2020 can be found here.  

08:45 Hello, good morning, and welcome back to Monte Carlo for the second day of the Extraordinary International Olympic Committee Session. We're back to bring you all the action as it happens, as the Session wraps up.