Entities entrusted with the delivery of large international sporting events, such as the Olympic Games, are confronted with a range of challenges potentially affecting their effectiveness and positive legacy. Central to the success of the Games, the efficient procurement of infrastructure and associated services is subject to numerous challenges going much beyond the technical expertise required to effectively deliver them.

Those challenges are exacerbated by the unique nature and mandate of the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), the entities tasked with the preparations for hosting the Games. Besides being temporary in essence, these organisations, which are ultimately responsible for the delivery of the Games, are not always directly managing all procurement-related activities.

OCOGs have to navigate and effectively engage with a complex web of stakeholders, from administrations at all levels of government to international sports federations and citizens. They further have to introduce a legacy lens in all their actions while making sure that what is needed for the Games is being delivered on time and on budget. Last, in order to make the Games an outstanding athletes and fan experience, OCOGs need to bring seamlessly together all pieces of this giant puzzle.

The OECD’s experience in the area of effective delivery of infrastructure projects and associated services builds not only on good practices synthesised in specific instruments. It also draws on experience ranging from long-term support to developing and delivering infrastructure projects as well as specific work on how to leverage global events for local development. In recent years, the OECD has developed different instruments and standards supporting quality infrastructure.

The OECD Recommendation on Governance of Infrastructure defines good governance principles that aim at laying the foundations and parameters of an environment conducive to the development of quality infrastructure. The OECD Recommendation on Public Procurement further provides the overarching principles necessary for the effective delivery of quality infrastructure and for the smart procurement of goods, services and public works. The OECD Recommendation on Global Events and Local Development provides a framework for understanding these issues in relation to major events and further underscores the need to promote the use of strategic procurement. The accompanying Toolkit to the Recommendation offers practical guidance and checklists on promoting more sustainable major events, implementing more effective delivery mechanisms and building stronger capacities to leverage local benefits throughout the lifecycle of the event.

The IOC has taken a leading role, on behalf of the Olympic Movement, in developing and providing tools, expertise, support and collaborative platforms and partnerships to turn challenges into opportunities. The Olympic Agenda 2020+5 provides 15 recommendations to secure greater solidarity, further digitalisation, increased sustainability and strengthened credibility in the organisation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Building on previous work, these guidelines are looking at the specific context in which OCOGs are required to contribute to the Games’ ambitions and identify dimensions that have a significant bearing on the delivery of sports-related infrastructure and associated services. These guidelines highlight experiences from previous Olympic and Paralympic Games editions, share insights from on-going preparations of future Games but also draw on the wealth of similar challenges faced by other institutions tasked with the delivery of large infrastructure projects.

This report is accompanied by an online toolkit available at:

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