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Bach open to calls to stay on as IOC president

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Monday he would not “dismiss out of hand” recent calls for him to stay in the post past the end of his scheduled term in 2025.

The German was elected for a first eight-year term in 2013 and re-elected for a further four-year spell in 2021.

Allowing the 69-year-old former Olympic fencing champion to remain in the post beyond 2025 would require a change to the Olympic Charter that currently limits a president to two terms.

But several Committee members on Sunday urged Bach to stay on during an ongoing IOC session meeting in Mumbai.

Bach told a press conference on Monday: “I had heard some rumours before and some members wanted me to continue my mandate but I did not expect this would come to the session.

“There were mainly two motivations for them. A number of these colleagues think and feel an election campaign so early would disrupt preparations for the Paris 2024 Games which are so important to the Olympic movement.”

Bach, whose time in office has been marked by an attempt to make the process of bidding and staging an Olympic Games more streamlined and less expensive, added: “They also wanted to express their recognition for the work accomplished by the IOC in the last 10 years and wanted to show their strong support.”

As IOC president Bach has had to confront several thorny problems, including the Russian doping scandal following the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

He also led the IOC’s response to the year-long delay of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

And he has lately found himself responding to the consequences for the Olympic movement of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — an issue for many international sports federations.

Term limits for the head of the IOC were imposed in an attempt to avoid a repeat of lengthy spells at the summit such as that enjoyed by former president Juan Antonio Samaranch, with the Spaniard in charge for 21 years from 1980 to 2001.

“I believe this is human that I was really touched and appreciated this show of support and friendship for me,” said Bach.

“For these reasons it is a matter of mutual respect and personal relationships that you do not dismiss such a thing out of hand.”

Bach added his answer would not be given out “over the media”.

“This has to be discussed with the people concerned,” he added.

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