(Updates with more changes)
By Karolos Grohmann
MONACO, Dec 8 (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.
The IOC will also forge stronger ties with professional sports leagues to ensure the best athletes in every sport are participating at the Games. Ice hockey has struggled in the past to convince the NHL to break their season so the best players can compete at the Olympics.
Olympic bidding for cities: IOC prerequisites on Olympic bid cities will be eased, and would-be bidders 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 avoid having cities drop out 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. The cost of 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 white elephants which damage the Olympics’ reputation as an event leaving important sports legacies.
Olympic channel: the IOC will set up its own ‘digital-only’ channel at a cost of nearly half a billion euros and aimed at increasing the exposure of the Olympics throughout the year.
By moving the Youth Olympics (summer and winter) to non-Olympic years it ensures one Olympic competition every year in the quadrennium, giving the new channel the possibility to spread the content over four years.
Discrimination: The IOC strengthens its Principle 6 against discrimination of any form, specifically adding sex and sexual orientation in an amendment to its Olympic Charter. This is to avoid a repeat of this year’s Sochi winter Olympics controversy where activists said a Russian anti-gay propaganda law discriminated against homosexuals. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Alan Baldwin)