The Corniche in Doha. (ATR)
(ATR) The IOC releases details of what it expects from Doha as it prepares a bid for the 2020 Olympics.
The IOC Executive Board issued the to-do list as part of the approval it gave Qatar to bid for the Olympics in the range of Sep 20 to Oct 20, well outside the July to August dates preferred by the IOC.
The letter sent Friday to the Qatar Olympic Committee covers three main issues rising from the heat of the Persian Gulf country. Even in mid-October, daytime temperatures can rise to the upper 30’s, lows around 25c. During early August 45c is a typical high temperature.
The IOC is seeking “full assurances” that the Doha bid will address these points:
“In order to protect the health of the athletes, the IOC will publish a list of events which must be organised at the most appropriate time determined by the IOC (early morning/late afternoon)”, reads point one.
“This scheduling should not be detrimental to the organisation, the broadcast coverage or the spectator experience,” says point two.
“Measures should be taken to protect the health of the public and all technical and support staff,” says the last point raised by the IOC EB in its Aug 27 letter to the Qatar Olympic Committee.
EB member Gunilla Lindberg tells ATR that the health of athletes and spectators is driving the IOC’s demands for the Doha bid.
“They will have to put some work into their bid to explain and see how it will work,” she says. She says whether Doha advances to the candidate city phase next May will depend on the answers provided by the bid .
Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli tells ATR that the need to schedule events at certain times to avoid the heat will lead to “concentrations of activity” that the Doha bid plans will
have to address, such as transportation and crowd movement.
“They have all the other issues to deal with as the other bid committees, but they have an additional level to deal with,” says Lindberg about the accommodations needed to handle the heat.
In a press release from the Qatar Olympic Committee, secretary general Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani says that Qatar understands the concerns of the IOC.
“We know that it is imperative that we guarantee ideal conditions for athletes, support staff, technicians and spectators, and ensure events are scheduled appropriately for all stakeholders and that is what we will do,” says the QOC leader.
This will be the second bid from Qatar for the Olympics. Doha was cut from the race for 2016 after the IOC decided that Doha’s proposal to hold the Games at the end of October was not suitable.
This time the IOC asked potential bidders which seek alternate dates for the Games to seek IOC approval before applying to bid. Doha was the only city to submit such a request by last month’s deadline.
The deadline to officially apply for 2020 is just five days away, midnight Sep. 1.
Along with Qatar, the applicant field should include Rome, Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo.
The IOC EB will select which of those cities will move into the final stage of the campaign next May. The vote to select a 2020 host comes at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires September 2013.
Doha already has a notable international bid consultancy aboard, London-based Vero Communications, headed by Mike Lee. Lee’s firm worked on the successful bid from Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.
Written and reported by Ed Hula
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