International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach speaks during a news conference in Pyeongchang, South Korea. REUTERS

PYEONGCHANG: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will look into awarding both the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games this year, its president said on Friday, in a break from tradition which could lock in Paris and Los Angeles over the next two Olympic cycles.

IOC chief Thomas Bach opened the door to the unprecedented move as he announced a high-powered working group to look at options, stressing "everything's on the table".

He refused to quell rampant speculation that the 2024 and 2028 hosts would be decided in one hit in Lima in Sept, after three rival cities withdrew from the race for 2024, leaving Paris and Los Angeles as the only bidders.

"Everything's on the table," Bach said, adding that the IOC's four vice-presidents will form the working group.

"No option is off the table... this includes also the '24, '28 procedure," he told reporters, after an IOC executive board meeting in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Both Paris and Los Angeles have expressed opposition to being shunted to 2028, saying the agreements and funding they have put in place are focused on the 2024 Games.

The idea of awarding two Games at once has gained currency after the eye-watering price tag of hosting the Olympics scared off rival bidders for 2024, leaving the IOC wondering who will step forward for 2028.

Bach said the working group's findings would be put to IOC members in July when they meet for a candidate city briefing in Lausanne, Switzerland, and potentially put to a vote.

When told that the Olympic charter says hosts must be decided seven years before the Games, except in "exceptional cases", Bach said: "With a charter you always have to have room for interpretation, to adapt to changing times." -- AFP

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