BEIJING (INSIDE THE GAMES)—The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed an Observer Programme for potential future hosts will not run during the 2022 Winter Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Beijing.

The Observer Programme typically runs at the Olympics, offering future hosts the opportunity to examine day-to-day operations at the Games.

The programme forms part of a knowledge transfer process, which, the IOC claim, allows Organising Committees to study specific areas, which they can apply to their respective organisations and plans.

The IOC has confirmed that the programme has been cancelled for Beijing 2022.

“The IOC will not host a National Olympic Committee (NOC) Observer Programme in Beijing,” an IOC spokesperson told insidethegames.

“This decision has been taken in discussion with, and is supported by, all the participating NOCs.

“It will allow the teams on the ground in Beijing to focus on delivering the Games in the context of the current global pandemic.

“The programme had been designed for NOCs interested in learning about evolutions and opportunities in hosting Olympic Winter Games. 

“All learnings from the Games will be incorporated into the Beijing 2022 Debrief in Milano-Cortina later this year, which will provide an opportunity for NOCs and potential future Olympic hosts to discover topics such as vision and culture; legacy and funding; operating a mountain cluster; impact and reach; and evolutions and innovations.”

A separate programme for future Organising Committees will take place.

A reduced Observer Programme was also operated during the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo last year amid COVID-19 restrictions.

Several contenders for the 2030 Winter Olympics were expected to attend the Observer Programme, including officials from Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City had said in December that it planned to send a small delegation to the Games, despite the United States Government announcing a diplomatic boycott of the event.

Salt Lake City-Utah Bid Committee head Fraser Bullock told KJZZ that the Observer Programme would have offered a helpful perspective, adding that the situation was the same for other interest cities.

“If you get behind the scenes, see how the pieces are put together, and see how they may have been modernised since our games, it’s a very helpful perspective,” Bullock said.

“The fact that we’re not going to Beijing, it’s the same for all the interested cities.

“So we’re not at any disadvantage and we’ll see our friends and connect in the next few months.”

Salt Lake City is one of several potential candidates for the Winter Olympics.

Japan, Spain, Ukraine and Canada are among the other countries to have expressed an interest in hosting the 2030 of the Winter Olympics…PACNEWS

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