THE IOC approved a new Olympic bidding process yesterday to make the system less costly and more flexible to attract future candidates - including the option of holding events outside the host city or country.

The International Olympic Committee voted in favor of the revised bidding system at the start of a special 2-day session to adopt president Thomas Bach's 40-point "Olympic Agenda 2020" reform package, which represents the biggest shake-up in the IOC in decades.

Proposals for a more flexible sports program and creation of an Olympic television channel were also up for vote.

The votes come at a time when many countries have been scared off by the costs of hosting the Olympics, including the reported $51 billion associated with the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Several cities withdrew from the bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, leaving only Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, in the running.

The system approved will make the process more of an "invitation" and allow prospective candidates to discuss their plans in advance with the IOC to tailor games to their own needs - and keep them affordable.

To cut down on costs and avoid white elephants, cities will be urged to make maximum use of existing and temporary venues.

Under one of the proposals, the IOC would abolish the cap of 28 sports for the Summer Games and move to an "events-based" system that would allow new events to come in - a process that could clear the way for baseball and softball to be added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Soccer

* The U.S. Soccer Federation is adding under-16 and under-19 national teams to its men's and women's programs. The new groups join the existing under-14, under-15, under-17, under-18, under-20 and under-23 programs.

* Doctors said Pele is expected to be discharged from a Brazilian hospital today, 2 weeks after being admitted to treat a urinary tract infection.

Sport Stops

* Tennis great Martina Navratilova will join the coaching team of Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up and No. 6 in this season's final WTA rankings.

* British middle-distance great Sebastian Coe said allegations of systematic doping in Russia should push the IAAF to set up an independent body to handle drug-testing in track and field. Coe, who is a vice president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, said the sport's image has been disproportionately damaged by doping cases in a small number of countries.

Philly File

* La Salle senior guard Alicia Cropper was selected as Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Week. She averaged 21 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2 steals in two victories.