Bach to convene retreat of IOC leaders

New IOC President Thomas Bach will hold a four-day retreat of his policy-making body next month to discuss the future of the Olympic movement, The Associated Press has learned.

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Bach will convene a private “think tank” of his executive board from December 11-14 at a hotel in the Swiss lakeside resort of Montreux, Olympic officials with knowledge of the decision told the AP.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting hasn’t been announced.

The brainstorming sessions are expected to cover a wide range of issues, including possible changes to the Olympic sports program, a review of the bid city process and a proposed raising of the 70-year age limit for IOC members.

The retreat will follow immediately after the regularly scheduled one-day meeting of the executive board at the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on December 10.

Regular IOC executive board meetings usually last two or three days and involve reports from various departments and Olympic host city organisers.

By keeping the December 10 meeting to just one day, the board can go into more depth and exchange views on all issues in a relaxed atmosphere in Montreux.

The move reflects Bach’s determination and urgency to take charge and set his own agenda since being elected president on September 10, succeeding Jacques Rogge after 12 years in office.

Bach chaired a closed-door summit of sports leaders at the IOC on November 2 to discuss doping, match-fixing, illegal betting, the sports calendar and other issues.

The 59-year-old German has made clear he wants a more flexible system for setting the Olympic sports program, an issue which came to prominence after wrestling was stunningly dropped from the 2020 Games lineup last February. The sport was voted back onto the program in September, defeating squash and a combined baseball-softball bid.

On Thursday, the IOC leader was in South Korea, meeting with President Park Geun-hye and checking on preparations for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

Bach will be back in Europe on Friday to attend the general assembly of the European Olympic Committees in Rome.

He has a scheduled private audience with Pope Francis and will present him with the Olympic Order, the IOC’s highest award, and will also meet with Italian Premier Enrico Letta.

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