Eight cities to rival London's bid

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The Independent Online

Nine cities, including London, will bid for the 2012 Games, the International Olympic Committee confirmed yesterday.

The cities had to declare their intention to run by midnight on Tuesday and, as expected, London, Paris, New York, Madrid, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Leipzig, Istanbul and Havana have all entered the race.

Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, said: "We are delighted to announce such a long list of prestigious cities. I believe this reflects the strong image of the Olympic Games and the IOC's policy of reinvesting revenues in the staging of the Games and the care for a strong urban legacy."

The nine now become "applicant cities" in official IOC language and have to submit a reply to a detailed questionnaire by 15 January. The IOC's executive board then decides in May which bidders become "candidate cities" and go through to the final vote in Singapore on 6 July, 2005.

Other key dates in the bidding process are: 15 November, 2004, when a lengthy bid document must be submitted; February and March 2005, when the IOC's evaluation commission visits each candidate; May 2005, when the evaluation commission publishes its reports into each city.

The London bid leader, Barbara Cassani, will be able to attend a seminar at IOC headquarters in Lausanne in October to meet senior figures within the organisation and receive background information about the Games and bidding.