April 23, 2015

LONDON (AP) Any consultants seeking to work for cities bidding to host the 2024 Summer Games must register with the IOC and pledge to abide by ethics rules, signaling a new drive by Olympic leaders to control costs and make the process more transparent.

The International Olympic Committee launched the ''consultants register'' on Thursday, and released the rules of conduct' for the 2024 bid process, including possible sanctions for violations.

IOC President Thomas Bach, who was elected in September 2013, was uncomfortable with the prevalence of consultants, strategists, and lobbyists, and the large fees doled out for their services by bid cities in recent years.

The creation of a register of bid consultants was approved in December as part of his ''Olympic Agenda 2020'' reform program. The purpose is to ensure that consultants respect the IOC's ethics rules and Olympic Charter.

''All consultants, individuals or companies, participating in or supporting a candidature in any way, must be entered in the IOC's register of consultants,'' the committee said.

Bid cities and national Olympic committees are permitted to use the services only of consultants listed in the register, it said. Consultants must be entered in the register before being hired.

The IOC said it was ''pleased to see that a number of consultants have already registered online.''

The list was made public on the IOC website www.Olympic.org . By late afternoon, two consultant companies were listed: British-based firm JTA, and U.S.-based Teneo Sports. Both were listed with Boston's bid.

Boston is one of three declared bidders so far, along with Rome, and Hamburg, Germany. Paris is also expected to enter the race. Other possible contenders include Budapest, Hungary; Baku, Azerbaijan; Doha, Qatar, and a bid from India.

The deadline for submission of bids is Sept. 15. The IOC will select the host city in 2017.

The IOC also published a 14-page document covering the rules of conduct for the 2024 bid contest, stating that the race ''shall take place with dignity and moderation.''

The rules are designed ''to ensure an honest and fair procedure for all the cities, exempt from any external influence, with equal conditions and opportunities for each candidature, and the absence of any risk of conflicts of interest,'' the IOC said.

The document includes a list of possible sanctions for any city breaking the rules.

While exclusion from the race is the ultimate penalty, the IOC for the first time cited a range of other punishments - including deduction of one or up to five votes during the election; a fine; a reduction in the presentation time to IOC members; and a ban on the supporting delegation from attending the vote.

The rules maintain the ban on IOC member visits to bid cities that was put into effect after the Salt Lake City scandal. Ten members resigned or were expelled for accepting cash, gifts and other inducements during the Utah capital's winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games.

Among the rules:

- ''No agreement, coalition nor collusion between the cities or their NOCs (national Olympic committees) aimed at influencing the result of the host city election is permitted.''

- IOC members traveling to a bid city for any reason must declare the trip beforehand to the ethics commission.

- Candidates may not lobby IOC members until after final bid files are submitted in January 2017.

- No gifts ''of whatever value'' may be given to IOC members.

- IOC members may not be invited to bid receptions, be contacted by ambassadors of the countries seeking to promote the candidacy, or receive honorary diplomas or other awards from bidding cities or countries.

- Cities are barred from using the name or image of IOC members except those from their own country.

- IOC members are prohibited from publicly declaring support for any bid.

- While national promotion of a bid is allowed at any time, international promotion is permitted only after January 2017.

- The IOC's global sponsors and other marketing partners are banned from supporting or promoting any bids

- Bid cities must not criticize each other, make any comparisons, or take part in any debate.

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