March 30 - International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach today claimed he remains unconcerned that so many of the cities bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics are currently experiencing problems which could derail their campaigns.
Lviv is potentially the one that faces the biggest problems due to the on-going crisis in Ukraine that has left it uncertain to whether the new Government - which is due to be elected on May 25 - will continue to back it amid the country facing major economic problems and the fear of further military intervention by Russia.
Oslo, many people's early favourite, is struggling with public opposition across the country which has made the Norwegian Government reluctant to offer the financial guarantees that the IOC will require.
Kraków, meanwhile, is facing the uncertainty of a public referendum surprisingly called by the Polish city's Mayor Jacek Majchrowski last week.
But Bach, who led Munich's unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, remains confident all three will remain in a race that also includes Almaty and Beijing, at least until the IOC ruling Executive Board selects the Candidate Cities at its meeting in Lausanne on July 8 and 9.
"We are still at the very early stages of the bidding procedure, and now it is up to the candidates to put the answers to questions together," Bach, who is attending the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Council meeting here, told insidethegames.
"We are not even in the candidature phase yet and in July when we make the decision we will understand the situation much better.
"Now we are waiting for the answers for the questionnaires and our working group will deal with the issues.
"It is not new at this early stage to not have all the guarantees together.
"This takes some time.
"We should now give the cities until July to make progress."
Bach is also confident that Kraków's referendum will not deliver the same result as when Munich held one last November to decide whether they should bid or not for 2022.
More than half of Munich citizens and in the surrounding areas which would have hosted events voted against a bid.
"With Kraków, the Mayor was very optimistic," Bach told insidethegames.
Bach claimed the success of Sochi 2014 will have helped the bidding cities see the benefits of hosting the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
"I am sure they have seen the great success of the Sochi Games, where contrary to the discussion before the focus now is very much on the positive legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games," he said.
"This is well understood by bidding cities and the populations in their respective cities and countries, that the candidature for the Games is a great opportunity to transform a region and society for the better.
"Therefore I am not too worried."
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