SYDNEY - The International Olympic Committee is in talks with a fifth city in addition to Boston, Hamburg, Rome and Paris over a possible bid to host the 2024 Summer Games, Olympic chief Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.
Four of the six candidate cities for the 2022 Winter Olympics dropped out and the IOC is desperate to avoid a repeat of that in the race to host the 2024 Summer showpiece.
Bach has staked his leadership of the Olympic movement on his Agenda 2020 reform package, part of which is to make the bidding process for the Games financially less onerous for cities and the IOC's role more proactive.
"Boston, Hamburg and Rome have formerly declared and there are strong signals coming from France with Paris and we're in talks with one other city so the field very strong," he told a news conference in Sydney.
"And perhaps by the 15th of September it may even be stronger than it is today. "One of the reforms of the agenda is we have created this new invitation phase, which means the IOC is inviting all the countries who are considering a bid to consult with the IOC."
"We give them all the information they need, we do a sort of 'know-how' transfer before they decide to bid so they have all facts in their hands.
"There are also countries not among the four I mentioned who showed interest." The Qatari capital Doha, Turkish city of Istanbul and Romanian capital Bucharest are among the cities which have expressed interest in hosting the 2024 Olympics without formally declaring bids.
National Olympic Committees must register the name of applicant cities for 2024 by Sept. 15 this year and the host city will be decided by an IOC vote in Lima, Peru two years later.
Bach said he had been encouraged by reaction from potential bidders to his package of reforms. "We are very happy with the strong interest in 2024 and we are happy that all of the potential candidates have all told us the Olympic Agenda 2020 is a major motivation to present their bids," he added.
"This is even is even more evidence that with Olympic Agenda 2020 we are on the right track." The Olympics will be held in Brazil for the first time next year, while Tokyo will host the Summer Games for a second time in 2020.