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IOC suggests more changes needed in Olympic host bidding

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 file photo, IOC President Thomas Bach speaks during the extraordinary FIFA congress in Zurich, Switzerland. Olympic leader Thomas Bach's grand plan was to streamline the Olympics, cut costs and encourage more cities to step up to try to host the games. Judged by the first round of bidding since the revamp, the plan, titled "Agenda 2020," has failed. (AP Photo/Michael Probst File)

The International Olympic Committee wants to keep considering changes that could result in both the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games awarded in September.

An internal letter written by IOC President Thomas Bach's spokesman suggests further adjustments are needed in the way Olympic hosts are chosen. It references Bach's statement from last year, saying the "process produces too many losers."

In December, Bach floated the idea of awarding both the 2024 Games, as scheduled, along with the 2028 Games.

Los Angeles and Paris are the remaining candidates from a list that began with five cities. Budapest, Hungary, said this week it was withdrawing.

The letter, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, was first reported by Inside The Games.

In an interview last week with AP, Bach said continued speculation about awarding two Olympics at the IOC's meeting in September "may give us some ideas."

"This procedure as it is ... in our political environment in such a fragile world just produces too many losers," Bach said last Saturday.

The letter echoed that phrasing, saying "the political situation in our fragile world requires us to further adjust the candidature procedure."

The IOC acknowledged Budapest's withdrawal, which will be made official by Hungary's Olympic committee.

"It is clear that a promising Olympic Games candidature has been used to promote a broader domestic political agenda beyond the Olympic Games and was overtaken by local politics," said the letter, written by Bach's spokesman, Mark Adams.

Adams defended Bach's "Agenda 2020," the core of which was to streamline the Olympics and make bidding more attractive and less expensive for cities.

"All three candidates have made it clear that their candidatures would not have taken place without Olympic Agenda 2020," Adams wrote.

Still, the dwindling of the candidate pool raised questions about whether Agenda 2020 was really working. The point of the letter was that Agenda 2020 was only the start and more reforms are needed.

If those reforms involve awarding the next two Summer Games this year, it will be a hard sell for both Paris and Los Angeles, each having insisted its proposals are good for only 2024.

Replicating plans for 2028 would be possible but would also take significant retooling since many of the contracts in place — for development and stadium use — are for only the 2024 Olympics.

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