December 8, 2014 / 1:27 PM / 3 years ago

Factbox on the major changes to the Olympics

MONACO (Reuters) - Following are some of the major changes the International Olympic Committee approved for future Games at its session in Monaco on Monday:

Sports programme: becomes event-based rather than sports-based, meaning more than the existing 28 Olympic sports can be included in future editions as long as the overall number of athletes (10,500) and events (around 310) does not grow.

Baseball and softball, which were cut from the Games after Beijing 2008, are now strong contenders for a return in Tokyo 2020, with the IOC eager to revamp the programme and bring in sports that are popular with host nations.

The IOC will also forge stronger ties with professional sports leagues to ensure the world's best athletes in every sport are participating at the Games.

Ice hockey has always experienced this problem, struggling to convince the NHL to break their season during the Games so the best players can compete for their nations at the Olympics.

Olympic bidding for cities: IOC prerequisites on Olympic bid cities will be eased, and would-be bidders will be encouraged to see how their city plans fit with a potential Games bid.

The IOC will also invite potential hosts, before their official candidacy, to discuss their plans in order to facilitate any final decision and avoid having cities drop out during the race as happened for the 2022 Winter Olympics where four of six bidders withdrew mid-race.

Bidding becomes cheaper with the IOC contributing to the cost of bid cities' campaigning, paying some travel and limiting their presentations to reduce the costs that, for summer bids, can reach as much as $100 million.

Olympic Games competitions: The IOC now allows organisers to stage competitions outside the host city, breaking from a long IOC tradition of keeping the Games in one city to not dilute their impact or commercial appeal.

In exceptional cases competitions can even move to a different country, notably for reasons of sustainability and to avoid leaving white elephants which damage the Olympics' reputation as an event leaving important sports legacies.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Alan Baldwin

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