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  • Qatar Quiet on Olympic Bid; Dubai Overhauls Events Strategy


    The Doha headquarters of the Qatar Olympic Committee (Getty Images)
    Around the Rings understands that IOC president Thomas Bach did not formally discuss a possible 2024 Olympic bid during his meeting with Qatar Olympic Committee officials in Doha.

    IOC director of communications Mark Adams told ATR that the issue did not come up during talks on the IOC delegation’s two-day visit.

    According to a Qatar NOC source, Bach told a group of reporters in Doha that it was too early to talk about the 2024 bid race when the 2022 campaign had only recently started.

    Adams said the focus was on the 2022 bidding contest.

    “The hosting of the Games is too important to make speculation for 2024 or, indeed, for 2028 or '32,” he told ATR.

    “What we can say is that Qatar understands very well the benefits that sport can bring to its people and has a well-developed plan for sporting development in the country and has developed some very impressive facilities.”

    Since failing to make the shortlist for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, Qatar vowed to continue bidding for the Olympics.

    But the Gulf state’s Olympic ambitions appear to have taken a knock in the wake of reports in recent months about human rights abuses linked to construction of stadiums and infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup.

    Migrant workers’ conditions have come in for strong criticism from politicians, human rights groups, trade unions, and FIFA. Qatar 2022 has developed a Workers’ Charter to address the issue, but the issue continues to garner negative headlines for the gas-rich nation.

    On Monday, Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper had the front page headline "Dying for the World Cup," alleging that 1,200 people have died in Qatar during the building spree for the FIFA showpiece since December 2010 when Qatar won hosting rights.

    IOC president Thomas Bach (Getty Images)
    Bach will be mindful of the approach being taken by his FIFA counterpart Sepp Blatter to pressure Qatar into action on the workers’ rights issue.

    On Tuesday, Bach met with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at Al Bahr Palace. The IOC delegation, which included IOC vice president Nawal El Moutawakel, director of Olympic Solidarity Pere Miro, and director general Christophe De Kepper also met with QOC head Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and a number of other Qatar sports leaders during their visit.

    The QOC said in a statement that it would enhance cooperation with the IOC in many areas, promising to “review a number of ambitious programs being implemented by the committee," including the School Olympic Program and the celebration of Qatar Sports Day on an annual basis.

    Dubai Improves Events Strategy

    Dubai Sports Council has partnered with TSE Consulting in a bid to enhance its major events strategy. An Olympic bid is not an immediate focus.

    TSE will assist the organization in determining how various events are contributing to the objectives of Dubai and to further align the selection of international and national events with their overall strategy.

    "We have big ambitions in terms of hosting national and international sports events, but we are equally ambitious in terms of wanting to make sure we optimise the impact they will have for Dubai,” said Ahmed Al-Sharif, CEO of Dubai Sports Council.

    “We are developing new tools that will assist us in assessing and creating synergy between all of our activities. We are pleased to have TSE Consulting with us as we take this next step."

    Written by Mark Bisson

    Homepage photo: Getty Images

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