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Olympic leaders back TV channel, city bidding changes

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Moving forward on IOC President Thomas Bach's reform process, Olympic leaders backed his proposals Saturday for setting up an Olympic television channel, reshaping the bid city procedure, and adding more flexibility to the sports program.

Bach convened a summit of 16 key IOC and sports officials in Lausanne, Switzerland, to press ahead with Olympic Agenda 2020, his strategic blueprint for the future.

The leaders supported the platform of changes that Bach will put to a vote at a special International Olympic Committee session in Monaco from Dec. 8-9. Bach, who was elected as Jacques Rogge's successor in September, has moved swiftly to enact his own policies in his first year in office.

Creation of an Olympic TV channel that would promote Olympic sports in the years between the games and help connect with younger people is one of Bach's main projects.

The officials at Saturday's meeting backed the idea, “recognizing the potential to greatly increase the presence of sports and the promotion of the Olympic values year round and worldwide,” the IOC said in a statement.

“The IOC will contact all the relevant stakeholders in the coming months to further develop the concept,” it said.

Details of the project have yet to be announced, although the IOC has said it would act as a “curator or moderator” to develop digital content, using the National Geographic Channel as a model. Sports federations, national Olympic committees, broadcasters, and sponsors would be asked to take part.

The summit also produced agreement on a new procedure for cities bidding to host the Olympics. This has become a main priority in light of the reluctance of potential host cities to come forward, scared off by the US$51 billion price tag associated with the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

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