New Delhi, April 3: International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach has been invited by the union government and the national Olympic body for a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month to discuss the development of sports in the country and a likely bid for 2024 Olympic Games.
Bach, who took over as IOC president in 2013, has been invited to visit India for a meeting with Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi. The date of the meeting has been tentatively fixed on April 27. This will be Bach's first visit to India after becoming IOC president.
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Bach is also expected to meet top IOA officials later that day.
Sources in the IOA said that the government would sound out Bach that the country is keen to bid for 2024 Olympic Games though they refused to come on record. No government official was also willing to come on record on this.
However, they said that Bach has been very keen on the development of Olympic sports in the country and play a big role in the Olympic movement in the coming years.
Ramachandran confirmed that Prime Minister Modi will meet Bach later this month but would not comment on India's likely bid for the Olympic Games in 2024.
"The IOA and the Government of India have invited IOC chief Dr. Thomas Bach for a meeting with the honourable Prime Minister of India in the last week of this month to discuss about the development of sports in India," Ramachandran told PTI.
A tentative date of the meeting was mentioned in the invite handed to Bach but Ramachandran said it's for the IOC and the Prime Minister's Office to decide on a date.
"There was a tentative date. But our Prime Minister and the IOC chief are big personalities and so their offices will decide the exact date," said Ramachandran.
India has time till September 15 if it wants to bid for the 2024 Olympics and the process to send the ‘Expression of Interest' has already started in January.
Italy's Rome, Germany's Hamburg and American city of Boston have expressed their desire to the IOC to host the 2024 Games. Kenya's Nairobi, Morocco's Casablanca, Qatar's Doha, France's capital Paris and Russia's St Petersburg may also join the race in the coming months.
Brazil's Rio de Janerio will host the next Olympics in 2016, while Japan's capital Tokyo will play host to 2020 Games.
The interested cities for 2024 Games will have to submit ‘Application Files and Guarantee Letters' from their respective governments to the IOC latest by January next year.
After a Working Group assesses the applications, the IOC Executive Board will announce the shortlisted cities around May next year. The world body will then vote to select the host city during the 130th IOC Session in Lima, Peru, on September 15, 2017.
Last year, the government had refused to endorse the IOA's move to host the 2018 Asian Games, reportedly on the ground of huge cost to be incurred though the government was just settling down at that time after the general elections.
IOA senior vice-president Virendra Nanavati said that the sports fraternity in the country will be happy if the government of India decides to bid for the 2024 Olympic Games.
"Our Prime Minister is a dynamic leader. If the government thinks India can bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, the IOA, sportspersons and the people will be happy," he said.
"Ultimately, it is the government which will have to bear the cost if at all India wants to host such a big Games. The IOA alone can't do anything," he added.
Significantly, the host city of 2024 Olympic Games may spend less than their previous counterparts as the IOC has adopted a slew of reforms recently, including financial support from the parent world body to the NOC hosting the Games.
Under the 40 reforms that make up Olympic Agenda 2020 adopted by the 127th IOC Session in Monaco in December last year, the IOC has made changes to the 2024 Olympic bid process such as reducing the cost of bidding and organising the Games, to ensure the Games leave a positive, long-term, sustainable legacy while also meeting the needs of the city and region though with no compromise on the field of play for the athletes.
The IOC will contribute approximately $1.5 billion to the organisation of the 2024 Olympic Games. Potential bid cities are encouraged to place greater emphasis on the use of existing venues, and temporary and demountable venues where no long-term need exists or can be justified.
(With inputs from agencies)