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  • Madrid Advances 2020 Olympics Ambitions; Doha Still Considering Bid


    Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon spearheaded the Madrid 2016 bid (Getty)
    (ATR) Madrid's mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon today announced the city's plans to bid for the 2020 Olympics after two failed bids to land the 2012 and 2016 Games.

    A spokeswoman for the mayor's office told Around the Rings that "Madrid expressed its intention to go forward" in Ruiz-Gallardon's announcement to a press conference in the Spanish capital Wednesday.

    "That needs to be approved by the city council meeting on July 20. If everything goes to plan, the Spanish Olympic committee will have it presented to them," she said.

    "They are the ones who will put forward a bid to the IOC."

    Ruiz-Gallardon's announcement confirms what Spanish IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch told ATR last week. The Spanish NOC's executive board is expected to endorse a fresh bid for the Games at a meeting next week.

    "Madrid has finished an extremely high percentage of the infrastructure needed for the organisation of the Olympics and Paralympics and can count on the experience of the previous two bids and the recognition of the Olympic family," Gallardon was quoted by Reuters.

    "The completed work means the cost of the bid will be significantly less, following criterion of austerity and efficiency with the highest possible return for the image of Madrid and Spain."

    Madrid losts out to Rio de Janeiro in the final round of voting for the 2016 Olympics, while London won hosting rights for the 2012 Games that the city also bid for.

    Gallardon insisted a successful 2020 bid would boost the financially-stricken economy of Madrid and Spain.

    Rome is so far the only city to confirm plans to bid for the 2020 Olympics. The IOC has set a Sept. 1 deadline for submissions of interest from national Olympic committees.

    Doha Still Considering 2020 Bid

    A spokesman for Qatar's Olympic committee tells Around the Rings that the Gulf state's government has yet to decide whether it will join the race to secure the 2020 Games.

    "It is clear we are planning to do it [an Olympic bid] but we are not sure if 2020 or after that. The timing is the issue here. This has been said more than once, it is not a secret," he said.

    His comments came after Olympic Council of Asia president Sheik Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said on Wednesday that Qatar remained interested in hosting the 2020 Games.

    But a bid from Doha may not come until 2024.

    The oil-rich nation's 2020 Olympic ambitions could be determined by Dubai, which is also mulling a bid for the Games after the Rio 2016 edition.

    A bid from Qatar so soon after winning 2022 World Cup hosting rights may also be affected by the bribery allegations that have swirled around the FIFA bid campaign for much of the last year.

    Istanbul Bid Seeks Government Backing

    Turkish sports minister said today that the country was preparing a 2020 bid.

    “Inshallah (God willing), we will bid and fulfill requirements to the letter,” Suat Kilic told CNN-Turk television according to an Associated Press report.

    The Turkish Olympic Committee is set to make a final decision after a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Last week, Turkish Olympic Committee president and IOC member Urgur Erdener told ATR at the IOC Session in Durban that there would likely be a bid from Istanbul.

    Istanbul was unsuccessful in four consecutive Olympic bids, for the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games, but was not a candidate in the 2016 race.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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