2-3-2014 Olympic News

IOC Executive Board Monday

February 3 2014

 

IOC chief says seven-year rule not set in stone

 

By Karolos Grohmann 18 hours ago

 

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach attends a news conference in Sochi, February …

By Karolos Grohmann

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SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – An International Olympic Committee rule that forces a sport to wait seven years before it can potentially become part of the Games program is “more or less obsolete,” IOC President Thomas Bach said on Monday.

Bach, who took over from Jacques Rogge in September, is eager to revamp the organization, change the bidding process for candidate cities and refresh the sports program.

The fact that the seven-year rule was included in the Olympic Charter should not pose a problems, the German told reporters.

“I know that the Olympic Charter is not set in stone, we have to evolve, adapt to modern times,” said Bach, who has given hope to baseball and softball to be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The two sports, hugely popular in Japan, missed the cut for inclusion in the 2020 and 2024 Games but the IOC session is set to discuss possible Charter changes in Sochi this week.

“I personally would be very much in favor (of changing the rule),” said Bach. “The seven-year rule is more or less obsolete. If the IOC, organizing committees and international federations agree then the seven-year rule must not be applied.

“I hope there will be changes, I hope I will see some of these changes implemented in my (eight-year) term as president.”

Bach has said he wanted to make the Games more attractive by bringing in more sports than the current maximum of 28 in order to win over new generations of viewers and keep the Olympic brand relevant to youngsters.

He said the IOC would discuss all possible changes this week at the Russian Black Sea resort prior to the February 7-23 winter Games and expected decisions to be finalized and voted on by the end of the year.

“I do not necessarily want to drop the seven-year rule. It can be necessary for a completely new sport, but if we all agree in a certain case that the rule must not be respected because technical conditions are met then why not?”

Related Story
There’s a chance baseball could get back into the Olympics
NBC News
Craig Calcaterra

Feb 3, 2014, 3:15 PM EST

Baseball and softball have been out of the Olympics since 2008 and they have repeatedly been shot down for reinstatement whenever the subject has come up. At present there is a rule that a sport can’t be reinstated or added to the Olympics without a seven-year advanced notice. But there is a chance that the International Olympic Committee may change this:

New IOC president Thomas Bach said Monday he expects discussion by the IOC membership at its general meeting on flexibility toward adding sports, for which the Olympic Charter has a seven-year rule. It mandates sports must be on the Olympic program seven years before the summer or winter Olympics in which they will be contested.

“If the opportunity exists to make such adjustments to the Olympic Games less than seven years before, I would be in favor,” Bach said. “If the IOC, the international federations and the organizing committee agree, the seven-year rule need not apply.”

The significance: the summer Olympics will be in Tokyo in 2020 and Japan is certainly receptive and ready to host baseball games. Indeed, you would assume that Japan would love to have baseball there as a gate draw and point of national pride for its national game.

Personally I could take it or leave it as an Olympic sport. I don’t get too jazzed by the WBC as it is and I’m not sure what adding it back to the Olympics would do either for the game in general or for people who already enjoy baseball at its highest levels. Still, somewhat interesting.

 

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