GENEVA — Brisbane could be officially named host of the 2032 Olympics when the IOC meets in Tokyo next month.
IOC president Thomas Bach said after an executive board meeting Thursday that Brisbane can be awarded hosting rights at a July 21 meeting ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
The Australian city’s victory already looked certain after it was put on the fast track in February by being named the preferred candidate without a formal opponent.
Around 100 IOC members will meet in Tokyo two days ahead of the games’ opening ceremony.
Though Bach said the outcome was “in the hands” of the members, they typically rubber stamp all recommendations coming from the leadership.
Bach praised Australia as a sport-loving country with strong support from layers of government in the city of Brisbane, the state of Queensland and federal level.
“All this together I think made it somehow irresistible,” the IOC leader said.
Brisbane is set to be the first Olympic host selected unopposed under a new system to streamline bid campaigns in order to make them less costly and decrease the risk of vote-buying. Tokyo’s campaign and 2016 host Rio de Janeiro were both tainted by corruption allegations that are part of ongoing criminal investigations.
The Brisbane bid has been led by IOC vice president John Coates, who two years ago oversaw updating the bidding process at Bach’s invitation.
Its quick progress as the IOC’s clearly preferred option has raised questions about possible conflicts of interest for Coates. He is viewed as one of Bach’s closest allies and also leads the IOC’s oversight of preparations for the postponed Tokyo Olympics.
Bach cited the IOC’s “strict rules” which were monitored by ethics and compliance officials.
Still, Brisbane’s rapid selection this year sidelined officials in Germany, Hungary, Indonesia and Qatar which had been in talks with Olympic officials about shaping bids.
That dialogue will continue with a “pool of interested parties” to host the Olympics in 2036 or 2040, Bach suggested.
“The future of the Games looks bright,” Bach said.
Australia last hosted the Olympics in 2000, with the popular success of the Sydney Games. Coates also led those bidding and organizing committees.
The 2024 Olympics will be held in Paris, with the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.