sport

Bach set to visit Rio

The new IOC president Thomas Bach will make a personal visit to Brazil next month as the countdown continues for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Although the world's attention is currently focused on next summer's World Cup in Brazil, there have been increasing concerns about the pace of Rio's preparations for 2016.

Three months ago it was warned that the venue masterplan and the construction timetable still had to be finalised, and an IOC team visited the city last week.

Bach said on a conference call with reporters: "We just had a project review last week in Brazil, our experts have been there, and they have reported there is good progress being made, that the organising committee is working well but on the other hand there is no time to lose.

"So this needs all the efforts of all the stakeholders, not only the organising committee but all the different levels of government.

"The IOC is ready to ensure that seamless cooperation between all the stakeholders and this is why I intend to travel to Brazil within the next couple of months.

"The purpose is to demonstrate that the new president of the IOC is behind these Olympic Games and that we are all fully committed to make them successful."

The stadium hosting the athletics events has been closed until 2015 due to problems with its roof - and there is still an issue over the name of the venue, the Joao Havelange Stadium, named after Brazil's former FIFA president who earlier this year was named in court documents as having received bribes.

Bach insisted that the name of the stadium was "not a major concern".

He added: "We are still a couple of years away and in the Olympic Games stadia are Olympic stadia so for the time being it is not a matter of major concern for us."

Bach will host a brainstorming session with the top people in the Olympic movement at IOC headquarters in Lausanne next week to try and find ways to bring in a fresh approach to attract youth to sport.

The session will include the five men he beat to become president, and Bach wants to see a change to the way bidding cities present their cases.

There is a growing feeling among senior IOC members that bids have become identikit, each aiming to tick boxes on cost, legacy, travel times and public support rather than seeking to project individual inspiration.

Bach said: "My personal opinion is that we should indeed consider changing the bidding rules.

"What we are doing now is asking hundreds of very precise technical questions at the very beginning of a bid and in such a way we do not allow for enough creativity. You just get the answers that others think you may want to hear and you get the same answers [from each bidder].

"I would like to encourage them not to follow a blueprint but to take the initiative by themselves and have confidence in their own ideas and projects."