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?


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?


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.

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For more information on:

  • When a country or city bid to host the event are they required to host any other events?
  • Olympic Games
  • World Cup
  • What happens during the bidding process?
  • Payment
  • Host Cities
  • Accommodation
  • Transport
  • Stadia
  • Legislation