LAUSANNE: IOC bosses recommended Friday that hosting rights for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics be awarded together, virtually assuring that rival bidders Paris and Los Angeles will both get the Games.
The move will not be final until a vote of the International Olympic Committee's members next month, but that body is likely to rubber-stamp Friday's executive committee recommendation.
IOC president Thomas Bach told reporters the proposal had been "unanimously" endorsed by the executive.
The IOC had a "golden opportunity" with two "great cities" competing for 2024 and did not want to turn either away, he said.
Interest in hosting Olympics has faded, with cities increasingly reluctant to take on the vast expense.
The Paris and LA bids have both embraced cost efficiencies, vowing to use existing or temporary facilities.
That offered an unprecedented chance to save money and set a new roadmap for organising an Olympics, according to Bach.
Assuming the dual award recommendation is approved at the July 11 session in Lausanne, the body's main meeting in Lima in September will then choose the host city for 2024 and 2028.
Bach also underscored the importance of cutting the "onerous" costs linked to Olympic bidding -- a problem partly solved by awarding two Games at once.
He also laid out measure to make bidding cheaper in the future, including free IOC technical support to interested cities.
Paris the 2024 favourite?
Both Paris and LA have said they are fighting for 2024.
Bach said that if the dual award is approved he hoped to strike "an agreement between the three parties" ahead of the Lima meeting, referring to the cities and the IOC.
Asked about backroom deals or quiet IOC handouts to the city that agrees to wait until 2028, Bach said: "I don't think you need to reward somebody if you give somebody a present", insisting that being given 2028 with no competition was a considerable prize.
The question is, do Paris and LA agree?
The French side has held a tougher line, with bid co-president Tony Estanguet insisting Paris "can't really consider 2028."
LA, meanwhile, is seen as more open to a deal, especially after its bid chairman Casey Wasserman said this week that "LA 2024 has never been only about LA or 2024".
When the idea of dual award emerged, LA did not give the IOC a "now or never" ultimatum, Wasserman said.
Despite speculation that LA would be asked to wait, Bach insisted that "the race for '24 is going on", and that neither side had conceded.
Both the French and the Americans have indicated they were open to having a discussion once the dual award plan is approved, the IOC chief said.
Both bids applauded Friday's announcement, with Paris saying the IOC's move was "in the best interest of the Olympic movement".
LA said in a statement it welcomed the "decision to recognize two excellent bids from two of the world's greatest cities."
- Which city can wait? -
LA last hosted in 1984 and much of the infrastructure remains in place.
The Californian metropolis has said it will use university residences to house athletes, instead of building an Olympic village.
LA also says it has secured $5.3 billion (4.7 billion euros) in private funding, a welcome pivot away from reliance on public funds.
But LA has warned those pieces may not remain in place for 2028.
Paris last hosted in 1924, so a return 100 years later would trigger marketing opportunities around the centenary.
Los Angeles, famous for snarling traffic and clogged freeways, has launched a massive public transportation overhaul independent of the Olympic bid.
But the work is in its infancy and Paris has noted that its Metro already carries eight million passengers per day. The IOC has made public transport a priority.
New French President Emmanuel Macron pledged unequivocal support for the Paris bid immediately after taking office, promising to support his side in Lausanne next month, and in Lima.
Paris has stressed that the prospect of both Macron and supportive Mayor Anne Hidalgo being in office in 2024 would be lift the Games, while 2028 is rife with political uncertainty.