Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo and will compete to host the 2020 Olympic Games after Doha and Baku were dropped from the list of applicants.
The International Olympic Committee announced the shortlist yesterday at its executive board meeting in Quebec City. The winner will be elected on September 7th 2013 in Buenos Aires.
The three remaining candidates have 15 months to lobby for votes and impress the IOC's evaluation commission, which will compile a detailed technical assessment and report on each bid for IOC members to review in July next year.
Tokyo, which is bidding for the second time in a row, is the only shortlisted candidate to have hosted an Olympic Games, in 1964. Madrid, which lost out to Rio de Janeiro in the final round of voting for the 2016 Olympics, is bidding for a third consecutive time and Istanbul a fifth time overall.
Doha, the capital of Qatar, and Baku in Azerbaijan were rejected for a second straight time after failing to make the final list of contenders to host the 2016 games. In 2010, Qatar won the bidding to stage the 2022 soccer World Cup.
The IOC's working group report on the five bids concluded that Baku's infrastructure and experience in hosting major sports events "are not sufficiently developed at this stage to deliver a successful Olympic Games in 2020" and that Doha's bid to host the Olympics two years before the soccer World Cup "presents significant challenges and risks".
The IOC said the three candidate cities will need to submit a new file with an "in-depth description of their Olympic project" by January 7th and prepare for visits by its evaluation commission starting in February.