Doha Still Undecided on Bid for 2020 Olympics

July 14, 2011

Doha are still undecided about whether they will bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics despite Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the head of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), claiming here that they do plan to put themselves forward.

Sheikh Ahmad, a Kuwaiti, had revealed that he had been told they were going to bid but that nothing had been officially announced yet.

But a spokesman for the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) insisted that the Sheikh’s claim on the eve of the OCA General Assembly was premature, even though Doha had promised as long ago as August 2008 that they would bid.

He said: “No decision has been made yet. We are still discussing the situation with the QOC and the Government.”

Doha bid for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics but were cut from the shortlist because their proposed dates were outside the window that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had published.

They claimed that IOC President Jacques Rogge had led them to believe that they could host the Games outside the window, just as Sydney had done in 2000.

The IOC have changed the criteria for this contest and any cities who propose to hold the Games outside the normal Olympic window of between July 15 and August 31 have until July 29 to make their intentions known.

The dates issue is a particularly sensitive one following FIFA’s controversial decision last year to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, which have caused there to be calls to move the tournament from its traditional June/July slot to January to avoid the scorching summer heat in the Middle East.

Qatar’s desire to stage major events remains strong.

They are already hosting the 2015 World Handball Championships and are among the contenders for the 2017 World Athletics Championships, a bid that is looking increasingly strong in view of the problems London is having securing the future of the Olympic Stadium.