December 06, 2014

MONACO (AP) The IOC set the timeline Saturday for bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics, a race that could include contenders from the United States, Germany, Italy, France and other countries.

The International Olympic Committee said prospective contenders must submit their candidacies by Sept. 15, 2015, starting a preliminary application phase that will run through April or May 2016. The formal ''candidate city'' phase will continue until the selection of the host in the summer of 2017.

The IOC executive board approved the schedule just days before the full IOC votes on President Thomas Bach's 40-point reform package, including measures to reduce the cost of bidding and hosting.

The recommendations include the introduction of an ''invitation phase'' where cities will discuss their plans with the IOC to tailor the games to suit their own needs before committing to a bid.

If the reforms are approved on Monday and Tuesday, the new bid phase for potential candidates will be added to the 2024 process, Bach said Saturday.

''We have heard about many very positive discussions about potential bids for 2024 in different countries,'' Bach said. ''We wanted to already give some certainty to these national Olympic committees and these countries about the timeline of the procedure.''

Under the timeframe, the IOC will host an ''information seminar'' for applicant cities in Lausanne, Switzerland, from Oct. 7-9, 2015, to set the rules and procedures for the campaign.

Cities will then face a deadline of Jan. 8, 2016, to submit their bid files to the IOC.

Bach and the IOC are currently revising overall bid procedures amid widespread concerns over the costs of the games. Scared off by the reported overall $51 billion associated with the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, multiple European cities pulled out of bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, leaving only Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, in the running.

However, several countries and cities around the world have already expressed interest in the 2024 Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic Committee is considering submitting a bid from among four candidates: Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington. The U.S. has not hosted the Summer Games since 1996 in Atlanta. New York and Chicago mounted failed bids for the 2012 and '16 Games, respectively.

Paris, which lasted the Olympics in 1924, and Rome, which staged the 1960 Games, are weighing possible 2024 bids. Other potential contenders include Istanbul, Turkey; Doha, Qatar; Baku, Uzbekistan; and a city or region in South Africa.

Bach's proposals also open the door to possible joint bids and cross-border bids involving more than one country.

Under the 2024 schedule, an IOC working group will meet in March 2016 to assess the applicant cities and hold video conferences with each.

In April or May 2016, the IOC executive board will meet to select a short list of finalists, with the possibility of one or more candidates being cut from the field.

The finalist cities will then have until November or December of 2016 to submit their full dossiers and letters of guarantees to the IOC.

An IOC evaluation commission will visit the cities in February and March of 2017 and publish a report assessing the bids in June. The IOC will hold a technical briefing with the bid cities in June, allowing the contenders to explain their projects directly to the members. Member visits to bid cities have been banned since the Salt Lake City vote-buying scandal.

The final vote will be held in the summer of 2017. The date and venue have not yet been determined.

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