Olympics: IOC chief to demand 'sustainable' Games

INCHEON, South Korea - Olympic boss Thomas Bach Saturday said future Games hosts would have to prove their "sustainability" as he heralded a shake-up of the bidding criteria.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) president made the comments to Olympic Council of Asia delegates in Incheon, which has gone into debt to host the ongoing Asian Games.

The German said the IOC has to "act now" to preserve its "relevance", suggesting cities who pitch for international sports events need to think about the long-term impact.

"There is broad agreement that we need changes in the bidding and candidature procedure for the Olympic Games," Bach told the opening of the OCA's general assembly.

"We need to address the fact that in today's world the Games need to make a greater contribution to sustainability.

"We have to encourage and motivate the candidate cities to take sustainability into account from the very beginning of the bidding procedure," he added.

"So, in the future we want to invite potential bidding cities to tell us how they see the Olympic Games fitting into their social, economical, ecological and sports environment." Bach's address came on the first full day of competition at the 17th Asian Games, which have cost nearly $2 billion (S$2.53 billion) and made Incheon South Korea's most indebted city.

Vietnam has withdrawn from holding the next Asian Games, perhaps mindful of the $32 billion in debt left after China's Guangzhou staged the Games four years ago.

Bach said recent Asian and Olympic Games have been successful, but urged national Olympic committees against complacency.

"If you don't change at the moment when you are successful the day will come when you will face problems or a crisis," he said.

"Sport has become too important in society to isolate itself from the society around sport. We are too important to ignore what is happening in society.

"If the world around you is making progress and going forward you can't just stand still. If you stand still you lose relevance... we have to act now."