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Games bid process must change so there are no losers: IOC

By Karolos Grohmann

By Karolos Grohmann

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - The way cities are awarded Olympic Games must change because too many losers are created under the current present system, the President of the International Olympic Committee said on Thursday.

Thomas Bach said the process would not be altered mid-race for 2024, with Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris bidding for that year's summer Olympics.

As expected, all three cities advanced to the next stage on Thursday but Bach said the IOC should think about future change.

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Paris, which hosted the 1900 and 1924 Games, is campaigning for the third time in the past four bids, having lost out for the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. The city also unsuccessfully bid for the 1992 Games, making this its fourth attempt.

U.S. cities New York and Chicago also lost out in 2012 and 2016, leaving Los Angeles hoping to make it third time lucky for the American candidacies when the IOC picks the winner at its session in Peru in September 2017.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has said another U.S. bid would be unlikely should the country miss out again.

"It is not the purpose to produce losers," Bach told reporters. "The real purpose is to produce the best possible host for the Olympic Games."

"We will have to look into this. I made it very clear the procedure for 2024 is under way and there we are very happy... but we have to think long term."

Under current rules, cities can be eliminated at any stage of the two-year process before the final selection is put to a vote.

For 2024, the IOC introduced an invitation phase for potential bidders to ensure they met general criteria and to eliminate weak candidacies.

Bach said one thought is to extend the invitation phase so that more Games' details and plans are available for both the IOC and cities considering launching a bid.

"One of the points to be considered is how to strengthen the invitation phase entering dialogue with some cities at an even earlier stage to go into more detail," the German said.

"I don't have the golden rule in my hand but am absolutely sure we have to make changes in this procedure," Bach said.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Neil Robinson)