BERLIN - Each of the 28 sports in the Summer Olympics will be put to a vote in July when the IOC decides whether to make changes in the program for the 2012 Games.
The International Olympic Committee finalized the procedures Wednesday for the vote, which will be held when the general assembly meets in Singapore.
The IOC is considering whether to drop any of the existing 28 sports and add any of the five sports hoping to get into the Olympics — golf, rugby, karate, squash and roller sports.
No sport has been cut from the Summer Olympics since polo in 1936.
IOC president Jacques Rogge maintains the Olympics must continue to have a maximum 28 sports, 301 medal events and 10,500 athletes. No new sport will be added unless one is dropped.
"We can have no more than 28 sports, but there is no obligation to have 28," Rogge said Wednesday. "We could end up with 26 or 27."
Under the system adopted Wednesday by the IOC executive board, IOC members will vote by secret ballot July 8 on each of the 28 sports contested in Athens last summer. The IOC has 117 eligible voting delegates.
To stay on the program, a sport must receive a simple majority of 51 percent. Any sport failing to get a majority will be dropped for 2012.
If one or more sports go out, the IOC executive board will meet later on July 8 to decide which of the five sports on the waiting list should be proposed for admission. The next day, the IOC assembly will vote by secret ballot on whether to accept the new sport.
A two-thirds majority is required to be admitted as an Olympic sport. That would be followed by a simple majority vote for official inclusion in the 2012 program.
In 2002, Rogge proposed that baseball, softball and modern pentathlon be removed, and golf and rugby added. But IOC members resisted and no vote was taken.
The IOC is now carrying out a review of all sports after each Olympics.
The IOC program commission recently completed a report evaluating the 28 sports based on a list of criteria including global popularity, ticket sales, attendance figures and television ratings.
While some sports come off worse than others, commission members said the report offers no overwhelming evidence for any sport to be eliminated or added.
Many Olympic officials expect no changes will be made. Most of the sports federation presidents are IOC members. The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, an influential body representing all 28 sports, is pushing for all the sports to be retained.
Rogge sought to alleviate the federations' concerns in remarks to the ASOIF delegates Monday.
"There should be no anxiety," he said. "The process will be a totally fair process. Reading the report, I have only one conclusion. We have very strong federations, and strong federations should have nothing to fear."
The current review does not affect the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which will feature the same sports as Athens.