Thomas Bach is set to be re-elected President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) unopposed next year after the organisation confirmed the German as the sole candidate for the role.
Bach, who became IOC President in 2013, confirmed he will stand for a second term during the virtual Session in July.
It had been widely expected that Bach would stand unopposed, and the IOC confirmed he was the only official to submit his candidature by yesterday’s deadline.
Bach will be given a second and final term at the helm of the IOC at the 137th Session in Athens, set to take place from March 10 to 12.
The Session in the Greek capital is scheduled to be staged in person but Bach and the IOC have admitted it could be held virtually depending on the coronavirus pandemic, with options for the gathering of the IOC membership still being discussed.
Bach, the ninth IOC President, will finish his term in 2025 and will begin his last four-year stint at the helm of the organisation after the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics close on August 8.
“I am honoured and humbled by the fact that there are no other candidates,” Bach said in a statement.
“I will continue to serve the Olympic Movement to the best of my abilities and will try to be a President for all the IOC members and the entire Olympic Movement.”
The 66-year-old Olympic gold medallist in fencing became an IOC member at the age of 37 and served in numerous high-ranking roles, including a total of 11 years as a vice-president, before his elevation to the top job.
Bach was elected to succeed Jacques Rogge as IOC President at the Session in Buenos Aires seven years ago after triumphing in the second round of voting.
He received the most votes in the first round before defeating Puerto Rico’s Richard Carrión, Ng Ser Miang of Singapore, Switzerland’s Denis Oswald and Sergey Bubka of Ukraine in round two.
Bach has faced several challenges during his Presidency, notably the Russian doping scandal, a series of referendum defeats amid a decline in interest in hosting the IOC’s flagship event and the first postponement of an Olympic Games.
He was President during the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, both considered among the most difficult and problematic to have been held in recent memory, and will be President during the first Olympics to be postponed in Tokyo next year – if the event goes ahead.
Bach has also been criticised for centralising the power on the ruling Executive Board, but helped orchestrate the dual award of the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics to Paris and Los Angeles and oversaw the signing of a broadcast deal with NBC through to 2032.