dpa/GNA – The Olympic Games could return to Australia in 2032, after Brisbane and the state of Queensland was installed as the preferred bidder for the event by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), following an executive committee meeting on Wednesday.
IOC president, Thomas Bach, told a news conference the decision “was not a decision against anybody”.
“This is just a decision in favour of one interested party at this moment in time.”
Preferred status means the IOC will negotiate exclusively with the Australian bid, in a blow to a possible German bid with the Rhine-Ruhr area.
“I’m very pleased that very early on my government went in with both feet to the Brisbane Olympic bid. I was very excited about it,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told journalists in Canberra.
“On two occasions, I took up the case directly with the president of the IOC, Dr Bach, and I know how enthusiastic they were about working with Australia, so I’m very pleased that we’ve got to this next step.
“We’ve still got a long way to go. We are effectively the preferred provider of the Brisbane Olympics, the Olympics in 2032. But there is still a lot more to do,” Morrison added.
German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) president, Alfons Hoermann, said on Wednesday that decision was “not totally surprising” and that Brisbane, along with a “good concept above all has the strong support of the population and politicians.”
Hopes of a first German-hosted Olympics since Munich in 1972 are fading, with Australia now in pole position for the event for the first time since Sydney in 2000.
Brisbane, if negotiations conclude successfully and are then approved by an IOC Session, would be the third Australian city to host the Games as Melbourne also had the honour in 1956.
That would effectively end the hopes of others, with Doha, Budapest, Jakarta, New Delhi, Istanbul, St Petersburg and the Chinese cities of Chengdu and Chongqing also looking into possible bids.
Bach said Brisbane “proposes sustainable Games in line with the region’s long-term strategy and using primarily existing and temporary venues.
“The commitment of Australia and Oceania to Olympic sports has grown remarkably since the fantastic Olympic Games Sydney 2000. This is why we see such strong public support.
“We decided to seize an opportunity to take to the next stage our discussions about returning 32 years later.
“In this way, we are also acknowledging the strength of the Australian team and other athletes from across the continent of Oceania at the Olympic Games over the past decades.”
The IOC developed the preferred bidder system in 2019 to prevent potential hosts spending large amounts of money over several years only to fall short.
“We are delighted the IOC Executive Board agreed with the Commission’s recommendation to invite Brisbane 2032 to targeted dialogue,” said Kristin Kloster Aasen, chair of the Future Host Commission.
“The IOC EB and the Commission noted the excellent progress that it has made, the strength of its proposition and the strategic opportunities it affords to the Olympic Movement.
The preference for Brisbane could also bypass the need to consult the German public in the middle of bid process, something which has derailed recent attempts from the country.
Bids from Hamburg for the 2024 Olympics and Munich for the 2022 Winter Games were vetoed in referendums, and Hoermann admitted that the coronavirus pandemic is not making things easier.
“We have no choice because we clearly said we would only deal with the issue in sport with a clear positive vote from the residents in the areas, and secured finances,” he told dpa.
In contrast to Hoermann, the initiator of the German bid, Michael Mronz, said the IOC decision was “surprising” and that he would not give up.
However, he noted the Brisbane bid had progressed due to strong support from the Australian Olympic Committee, which “in the case of Germany has unfortunately definitely not been given.”
Hoermann praised Mronz’s private initiative for its “highest professionalism and impressive engagement,” and said “we will freshly evaluate the situation after this disappointment.”
Tokyo hosts the 2020 Games delayed to this year because of the coronavirus, while Paris has 2024 and Los Angeles has the 2028 edition after a double award was made in 2017.