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Olympic sports need more air time, says Bach

Reuters
International Olympic Committee President Bach speaks during a news conference in Seoul
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International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach speaks during a news conference in Seoul …

By Brian Homewood

(Reuters) - Most Olympic sports do not get enough television coverage outside the four-yearly Games and need more air time, International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.

The recently-appointed president added that he wanted to get "couch potatoes off their couches" and said the IOC would be sympathetic to an African bid for the 2024 games.

Bach also suggested the IOC could set up its own television network to counter the lack of coverage on existing channels.

"The Olympic Sports do not have enough coverage and the Olympic sports need to be promoted also in the time between games," Bach told reporters in a conference call.

"This is part of the youth programme to address youth and make them familiar with the variety."

"One of the solutions could be such a television network and we will discuss this idea in the Executive board.

"I never said I would have the project ready and the finances in the pocket," he added. "What I said is that this is a vision and that I wanted us to explore the viability of this vision."

The German said another priority was to get more young people involved in sport.

"We have to make very clear what our goal is because so far... we have been just talking about keeping young people interested in the Olympic movement and Olympic Games and this is one step too short," he said.

"Our ultimate goal has to be (that) we get young people playing sports, (it's) not enough to have them consuming sports."

"We want to get the couch potatoes off the couches... to get more and more countries where sport is on the school curricula and give sport the importance it deserves with regards to education, integration and promotion of the values."

Bach has already been to South Africa since winning the presidential election in September and said "they are really thinking very positively about a bid for 2024."

"I think an African bid would enjoy a lot of sympathy among the IOC members because we are a universal organization and want to see the games organized on all five continents," he said.

"If there would to be a feasible bid from the African continent, or in this case from South Africa, there would be a lot of sympathy but this does not mean you would win the race, there is still a competition ahead."

(Reporting By Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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