The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) today launched the process to appoint a host city for the inaugural edition of the World Urban Games, aimed at being held in 2019.
But, it was also announced during the GAISF General Assembly, that the previous concept of the World Combat Games, under which the next edition was to be held in Chinese Taipei in 2019, has been stopped and will be adjusted.
The World Urban Games will be a downtown, five-day celebration featuring a new-generation of sports and a showcase for the skill, style and power of the most successful and inspirational urban athletes, riders and breakdancers on the planet, it is claimed.
The event is set to comprise a programme of competition and showcase urban sports complimented by a festival of youth-focused music, art and culture giving the Games a unique inclusive and festive atmosphere.
The proposed sports programme would include up to 14 disciplines in Olympic and non-Olympic sports meeting seven criteria approved by the GAISF Council today.
A review of the disciplines eligible for the competition programme is underway and, under the supervision of the relevant International Federations, athletes will compete in breakthrough events.
So far, potential eligible disciplines are 3x3 basketball, BMX freestyle cycling, break dancing, boulder sports climbing, freestyle flying disc, parkour, roller freestyle, in-line freestyle and skateboard.
The final programme will be proposed for approval in due course and disciplines will be selected from among all eligible disciplines in consultation with the host city and all stakeholders.
In addition, at least four sports will feature one of their disciplines as showcase events and the programme is designed to allow fans the chance to learn about and experience the urban sports on show.
"We are extremely proud to launch the World Urban Games which will be a landmark event and presents significant opportunities for any city looking to organise an innovative, fun and accessible multi-sport event at the heart of its city," GAISF President Patrick Baumann said.
"We had a very positive response from International Federations and potential host cities this week and I look forward to continuing that dialogue.
"The programme and festival will showcase all that is best about sports which have been forged by youth and urban culture and which celebrate competition, creativity, lifestyle and the engagement between competitors and fans.
"The World Urban Games are designed to reflect how sport refuses to stand still and will continue to evolve as our lifestyles and leisure choices change.
"But while these are new sports to many, they demand the same determination, skill, bravery, commitment and single-minded pursuit of excellence as all others.
"The Games will also provide a sustainable continuity and be a valuable test platform for the urban cluster concept that has seen the light at the Youth Olympic Games and will now be incorporated for the first time in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
"For five days, the inaugural host city will become the beating heart of these sports and the focus of major global media attention.
"Together with GAISF and all IFs involved, the selected host will make history and be inextricably linked with the youthful vibrancy of a truly 21st Century sporting event."
The World Urban Games could involve around 700 competitors along with 300 team officials and is designed to be staged on a single, easily accessible downtown site and Festival Plaza with a contained operational footprint.
The events will avoid use of public roads and allow for host cities to make proposals for events in accordance with local culture and traditions.
GAISF is instigating an initial consultation phase during which it will work with potential hosts as well as interested International Federations ahead of a formal bid phase.
The host of the World Urban Games could be announced in the autumn.
A series of presentations and information and discussion sessions for interested cities was held this week during SportAccord Summit here in Thailand’s capital.
"Right now it’s a consultation phase," Baumann told a press briefing after GAISF's General Assembly.
"So we’re not simply sending out letters to Mayors or cities and here is a deadline, if you want to bid, you bid.
"It is a consultation process.
"We have a list now we have discussed with all the cities that are here.
"There’s been two sessions already dedicated to it and there’s been a lot of contacts established there.
"It is open and now whichever city would like to discuss it is welcome to have a conversation and there is still a consultation phase.
"After the consultation phase, we will have a more formal bidding process.
"If there is interest, an awarding process will be held in due course, hopefully towards the end of this year.
"We are keen on having it as of next year, but on the other hand it’s been left open whether it will be 2019 or 2020.
"For the time being, it will depend on the end of the consultation phase both with the federations and with potential host cities.
"That consultation phase should be ending around September."
The World Combat Games, meanwhile, is to be re-sized and held every four years starting in 2021.
"We were not ready to hold them in 2019 because it’s a qualifying year for the Olympic Games in Tokyo and the Federations were feeling a little bit uncomfortable at modifying their calendars or adding to the qualification calendar that particular event," Baumann said.
"So the year after the Olympics was felt to be a more appropriate time to have the Combat Games.
"The combat sports community want Games.
"There’s probably others that might not be as hungry for Games because their calendar is already very, very overcrowded.
"But there’s a lot of disciplines and every single one of the Combat Federations want to showcase them and they want to have the opportunity to do this in a setting where everybody is together.
"Through the strategic work that we’ve conducted over the last six months, the size of the event that was foreseen is slightly too big.
"It’s just simply too big.
"It needs to be re-sized to make it more realistic in terms of the investment of hosting cities.
FI understand that the Federations of the combat sports met here yesterday morning and they’ve come to the conclusion that they’re going to set up a working group that is re-studying the concept for the Combat Games moving forward.
"We hope that will be in place some time this year so that we can move on with the appropriate documentation and then there will be a consultation for hosts and hopefully an awarding.
"But the event will not happen before 2021."