ISTANBUL 2020: What’s in a word? Reedie careful to keep all the IOC’s options open

March 27, 2013

Sir Craig Reedie may have been talking in generalities or specifics. Only the chairman of the IOC’s evaluation commission knows the answer. But the Turkish sports community emerged from the closing press conference of his tri-city  assessment circuit hoping for the latter after hearing him say that “the quality of Olympic bids gets better and better every time there is a contest.”

Certainly it will be difficult for the 14-strong commission led by the British IOC vice-president too pick too many holes in the presentations derived from the hosting dreams of Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul these past four weeks.

All three cities demonstrated venues in place and proposals capable of withstanding speculative scrutiny. The only questions none of them could answer were all political.

Reedie, summing up, described Istanbul as an “extraordinary city” and would, in common with all bidding cities, benefit from the process.

The programme of theme presentations and site visits had been “extremely well organised” and left “an excellent impression of the skills and enthusiasm of the bid committee.”

Highest levels

Reedie then noted that “excellent” should be considered by the media, for the sake of fair play, as equivalent to the adverbs “greatly” and “hugely” used for Tokyo and Madrid.

He acknowledged the cross-community contributions from the highest level of government, city and sport to underline the “great interest in sport which exists in this country.”

He had been a member of previous evaluation commissions to all three candidate cities and “clearly everyone has benefited from the previous bidding experience.”

In summing up for the local organising committee, chairman Hasan Arat described the evaluation process as “a fantastic learning experience for us which will be a bridge to excellence for every client group.”

The three bid cities head off to SportAccord in St Petersburg next month then to a presentation opportunity in front of all the IOC members in Lausanne on July 3 and 4. By then the IOC members will be in possession of the evaluation report assessing and analysing all thre bids.

Subsequently the IOC will vote on the identity of the 2020 host city at its 125th session [congress] in Buenos Aires on September.

Keir Radnedge has been covering football worldwide for more than 40 years, writing 33 books, from tournament guides to comprehensive encyclopedias, aimed at all ages.

His journalism career included The Daily Mail for 20 years as well as The Guardian and other national newspapers and magazines in the UK and around the world. He is a former editor, and remains a lead columnist, with World Soccer, generally recognised as the premier English language magazine on global football.

In addition to his writing, Keir has been a regular analyst for BBC radio and television, Sky Sports, Sky News, Aljazeera and CNN.

Keir Radnedge’s Twitter: @KeirRadnedge

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