By Stephanie Nebehay
LAUSANNE Switzerland (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) must do a better job of explaining the merits of hosting the Games to cities considering an application, IOC President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.
Only three cities - Oslo, Almaty in Kazakhstan and Beijing - were confirmed as official candidates to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games on Monday. Stockholm, Krakow and Lviv in Ukraine had also submitted bids but later withdrew.
Bach, asked about cities losing referendums and others choosing not to bid to host the Games, said: "We have to explain, explain and explain.
"It is obvious that we have to explain our system of bidding and organization of the Games better. That means we have to show that this is a very transparent procedure from the very beginning," he told a news conference after a three-day Executive Board meeting at its Lausanne headquarters.
An IOC report assessed each candidate city on 15 criteria, including housing, venues, doping control, safety and transport.
The Sochi Winter Olympics this year cost an estimated $50 billion as President Vladimir Putin laid on a lavish spectacle to present a modern and dynamic image of Russia to the world.
The results of IOC working groups are public, as well as the report on the visit of the evaluation commission, bidding files, the evaluation report and comments by bidding cities, Bach said.
"Sometimes in this business it's more about perception than it is about reality," he added.
Referring to the drive for reforms under the IOC's Agenda 2020, Bach said it was up to the candidate cities to say how the Games fit into their environment and which investments they planned to develop their city and region.
"And then not blaming at the end the IOC movement for infrastructure projects they wanted to do anyway and using the Games just as a catalyst because they know that without the Games they would never have got the approval to put them in place," he continued.
The IOC Executive Board will discuss the Olympic Agenda 2020 in October and prepare recommendations for the extraordinary IOC session in December in Monte Carlo, he said.
Bach, asked about reports 2020 host Japan may consider using some existing venues rather than building all new ones, said the coordination commission was in discussion with the organizing committee.
"I had the opportunity during my 12-hour visit to Tokyo 10 days ago to speak with the prime minister about this and the president of the organizing committee," he added.
"The message we are giving is the same. We are open for this discussion and if there are more sustainable solutions ensuring the quality of the venue for the athletes, then we are absolutely open for discussion.
"But it has to be in consultation with the coordination commission and the international federations of course who have to give us assurances that the quality does not suffer."
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Tony Goodson)