Hosting of International sporting events

How are decisions made regarding the hosting of international sporting events?

Two of the biggest worldwide international sporting events are the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup. Both of the events are held every four years and in the case of the Olympic Games are held in a different city each time whereas the World Cup is held in a different country each time.

How is the host of the event decided?

The host of the event will be decided through a bidding process in which the International Governing Body of the Sport will invite various cities or countries through a tender process to bid for the right to host the event.

In relation to the Olympic Games it will be the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who conduct the bidding process and make the final decision on who will host the games.

In relation to the World Cup it will be the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) who will conduct the bidding process and make the final decision on which country will host the event.

Within the tender process there will be minimum requirements which each of the bidders must adhere to for them even to be considered as a possible host for the event.

Are there any restrictions on who can bid to host the event?

In relation to the Olympic Games there are no restrictions on which city can bid to host the games.

For the World Cup between the years of 2002 and 2014 it was decided that the hosting of the event would be fall across a different continent thereby restricting the possible countries to bid for the event to countries from that continent. The following list shows the different continents and which country was able to bid and host the event during that period:

  • 2002 – Asia – Hosted by both Korea and Japan

  • 2006 – Europe – Hosted by Germany

  • 2010 – Africa – To be hosted by South Africa

  • 2014 – South America – To be hosted by Brazil

The 2014 World Cup is to be the last football World Cup which is held according to geographical location so consequently the bidding for the 2018 World Cup is open to any country from around the world. Currently the likes of England, Australia and the USA are bidding to host the 2018 event.

Who makes the decision on who will bid for the event?

Olympics

Each country involved within the Olympic Movement will have a National Olympic Committee which has the job of deciding which city from within that country will be able to bid for the right to host the games.

World Cup

It will be the job of the National Governing Body in that particular country to decide whether they are going to bid to host the World Cup. For example in England the Football Association will have made the final decision on England bidding for the 2018 event. Once the decision has been made the Football Association will form a bid committee who will oversee all aspects of the bidding process.

Once a country has been selected to host the event who will oversee the running of the event?

Olympics

Once a city has been selected to host the games they will be required to form the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG). The Organising Committee will then work in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in all aspects in relation to the successful running of the games.

World Cup

In a similar fashion once a country has been selected to host the World Cup the National Governing Body from that host nation will be required to form the Local Organising Committee (LOC) which will work in conjunction with FIFA in all aspects to secure the success of the event.

When a country or city bid to host the event are they required to host any other events?

Often the right to host a major international sporting event will be coupled with the hosting of another event.

Olympic Games

In relation to the Olympic Games, immediately after the closing of the games the same city will be required to hold the Paralympic Games.

World Cup

The country which has been selected to host the World Cup will also be required to host the Confederations Cup the year prior to the World Cup. The Confederations Cup is an event made up of the winner of each Continents top completion, for example the European Championships, the holder of the last World Cup and the Host Nation.

The Confederations Cup is used as a test event for the host nation to ensure that the main event will be able to be run.

What happens during the bidding process?

During the bidding process for a major international sporting event each country or city bidding will be required to sign an initial agreement with the governing body which sets out standard terms which must be adhered to in the running of the event.

The standard terms are in relation to, but not limited to, the following:

  • Payment

  • Host Cities

  • Accommodation

  • Transport

  • Stadiums

Payment

Often there will be provisions within the agreement which states how payment will be made to the National Governing Body. For example, the Local Organising Committee hosting the world cup will be required to make payment to FIFA often in the manner of an account of profits or profit share of the profit made from the event.

Host Cities

If we take the example of the Football World Cup, the National Governing Body which is hosting the event will be required to put forward a specific number of host cities which will be used to host the event. For example the 2006 World Cup in Germany had 12 host cities which were used to stage the event.  Often the decision on which cities will become host cities is carried out by an internal bidding process with the National Governing Body.

Accommodation

In the initial agreement signed with the International Governing Body to bid to host the event will be a requirement for the bidding nation or city to secure a minimum amount of accommodation in that host city or cities. This is a requirement in relation to accommodation for the participants in the event but also for people traveling to watch the event and must be secured through contracts with the various hotels. Once a county or city has been selected to host the event these contracts will be transferred to either the LOC or the International Governing Body by an assignment and assumption contract.

Transport

The bidding nation will be required to show that they have an adequate transport infrastructure in place or can build an adequate transport infrastructure to host the event. For example when London was bidding to host the 2012 Olympics the bidding organisation was required to show that the London Transport System could cope with the increased usage to the Olympic areas.

Stadia

When a country or city is bidding to host an international sporting event they will be required to show that they have the required infrastructure in relation to the stadium or stadia to host the event, often they will be required to show plans for new stadia if they are to be built. For example when London bid for the 2012 Olympic Games they were required to show plans for the new Olympic venues to be built whereas in the bid for the 2018 World Cup no new stadia are to be built as the country already has the existing infrastructure.

Legislation

Once awarded a major international sporting event many countries pass legislation in order to protect that event. For example once selected to host the 2012 Olympics the Government passed the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006.