SYDNEY, June 11 (Reuters) - Australia’s top Olympic official John Coates said on Friday that Brisbane winning the right to host the 2032 Summer Games was not a done deal, despite the International Olympic Committee’s executive board approving the bid.
The IOC executive board signed off on the bid on Thursday and, under a new system designed to make bidding cheaper and more efficient, a full session of the sporting body will now vote on it on July 21.
With Brisbane the sole preferred candidate, some media critics have suggested the IOC session will simply rubber-stamp the decision but Coates, who was a key figure in the reform of the bidding process, said that was not the case.
“I was very, very pleased to get this vote of confidence ... this was the next step along the way,” the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president and IOC vice-president told reporters in Sydney on Friday.
“You never know with the IOC members. A 50% vote in favour is required even if there is only one candidate. I’ve been around long enough never to take it for granted.”
Coates, who was recused from the vote of the executive board, said that the IOC was still talking to other countries that had expressed an interest in hosting the Games, which include Indonesia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Germany and Qatar.
Queensland State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk echoed Coates’s caution but was delighted Brisbane had moved closer to joining Melbourne (1956) and Sydney (2000) as an Australian Olympic host city.
“We have actually just done the final hurdle, and the finishing line is just in front of us, and it’s almost there, we just got to wait a little bit longer,” she told reporters. “But today is an incredibly proud day, something that I never thought I would see in my lifetime, to get to this position.”
An independent economic assessment by KPMG, commissioned by the Queensland government, indicated that the Games would deliver a total benefit of A$8.1 billion ($6.28 billion) for Queensland and more than twice that amount for Australia.
Coates said A$10-11 billion in infrastructure improvements proposed for southeast Queensland before 2032 were not necessary for the region to host, but would make for a “much better Games”.
Australia’s Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck also welcomed what he described as “another significant milestone”.
“It reinforces the work that has been achieved so far by all bid partners and highlights what can be achieved when all levels of government work toward on an outcome that will have enormous benefits for the entire nation,” he said in a statement. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)