Olympics-France 2030, Salt Lake City 2034 take penultimate step towards hosting Games

FILE PHOTO: Drone view of the Olympic rings in front to International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) -France 2030 and Salt Lake City 2034 got the nod from the International Olympic Committee's executive board on Wednesday, the penultimate step towards becoming Olympic winter Games hosts, the IOC said.

The bids will now await a vote of the Olympic body's session in Paris on July 24, Karl Stoss who heads the IOC's future host commission said, in what is largely a rubberstamping of the executive board's recommendation.

The French bid still needs to deliver some guarantees before the vote that could not be delivered on time due to the political situation in the country with legislative elections called last week.

One of the guarantees still to be delivered is the public partnership contribution from the two regions involved, Stoss said.

"We are very confident that both guarantees will come earlier than the IOC session," he said. "We are in very close contact with the government and the presidents of the two regions."

"They told us 'we have this situation that elections are coming in June and then July 7. Between July 7 and the session we will reach confirmation of the guarantees'. This is very clear for us," Stoss said.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday called a snap parliamentary election in a few weeks' time after the anti-immigration, eurosceptic National Rally came out on top in a vote for the European Parliament.

The two sites had already been picked as the only preferred bidders for their respective Games in November 2023.

The French bid, which involves the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur regions, has scored points for its plan to hold the Games in four separate clusters as well as for its strong support from the public and private sector.

Should it be approved by the session, France will host the winter Games six years after the Paris summer Olympics that start in July.

Salt Lake City, which had initially wanted to bid for the 2030 Games but dropped those plans due to the date being too close to the 2028 summer Olympics in Los Angeles, looks set to host the Games for a second time after 2002.

Its current plan relies on existing venues only and requires no significant capital investment.

This is not the first time in recent years that the IOC has sought long-term security with a double allocation, having picked Paris for the 2024 summer Games and LA for the 2028 edition back in 2017.

France has also staged the Winter Games in 1924 in Chamonix, in 1968 in Grenoble and in 1992 Albertville.

(Reporting by Karolos GrohmannEditing by Toby Davis)

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