LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Left with little choice after the withdrawal of three contenders, the International Olympic Committee retained the three remaining cities Monday in the troubled race for the 2022 Winter Games.
Almaty, Kazakhstan; Beijing, and Oslo made the list of finalists, as had been expected.
The IOC executive board approved all three as official candidate cities, sending them through to the final stage of the campaign, rather than cut the decimated field any further.
The cities must submit their detailed bid files to the IOC by next January. The host city will then be selected by the full IOC membership in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 31, 2015.
"The IOC is very happy to see three very different approaches with regard to the organization of the games," IOC President Thomas Bach said. "This gives the IOC a choice among three diverse bids with different legacy plans, with different approaches, with different budgets."
Addressing concerns that the Olympics have become too expensive, Bach said the IOC will contribute about $750 million to the host city and expressed confidence that local organizers will break even or make a profit on their operational budget. He cited a projected $200 million surplus for Russian organizers from February's Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Potential host cities, especially in Western Europe, are increasingly wary about the financial costs of holding the games. Many have been scared off by the $51 billion price tag associated with the Sochi Games, even though Russia spent much of that record sum on long-term infrastructure projects for the entire region.
"We want to encourage sustainability and the feasibility of the organization of the Olympic Games," Bach said.
The 2022 bid race began with six cities, but has been cut in half by the withdrawals of Stockholm; Krakow, Poland; and Lviv, Ukraine.
Lviv dropped out a week ago amid the continuing political turmoil in Ukraine. Krakow pulled out in May after Polish voters rejected the bid by a 70 percent margin. Stockholm withdrew in January after Swedish politicians refused to give the bid financial backing.