Qatar quietly scraps plans to bid for host of 2024 Olympic games
It looks like the third time won’t be a charm for Qatar when it comes to hosting the Olympics.
Though the Gulf nation had initially said it would bid for the games in 2024 after two previous failed attempts, it did not submit an application to the International Olympics Committee (IOC) by last night’s deadline.
The shortlist of contenders released by the IOC this morning include four European cities (Hamburg, Rome, Budapest and Paris) and Los Angeles in the US.
The Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) has not publicly discussed its decision not to bid and a spokesman declined to comment to Doha News about the matter.
representatives have not responded to repeated requests for comment.
After being awarded hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup in late 2010, Qatar set its sights on hosting the summer Olympics.
But it was cut during the first round of the decision-making process for the 2016 games, as well as the 2020 games, in large part because of its searing summer heat.
Following the second attempt, the CEO of the bid at the time said: “Much of the legacy plans for ’20 will go on; we’ll digest the findings of the IOC report and look forward to the 2024 race.”
However, since then officials have apparently backtracked on those plans.
Earlier this year, the secretary general of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) said the nation’s officials were still making up their minds about whether to bid as host city of the world’s largest sporting tournament.
Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in January that the QOC may have been considering a longer lead time to apply as host of the games:
“We don’t know if we are going to bid for ‘24 (2024), but bidding for the Olympics it will be, I mean, either ’24, ’28 or ’32. But for the ’24 we have not made the decision yet. The decision will hopefully be before September.”
One of the issues around Qatar’s application for 2020 was the desert state’s climate, where temperatures can hit 50C in mid-summer.
The heat has already led to the controversial change in the time of year in which the World Cup will be played in 2022, from summer to November/December.
For the 2020 Olympics attempt, Doha’s bid had involved shifting the tournament calendar so that the games would be held in the country’s cooler winter months. While organizers said this was not considered a deal-breaker, it is understood to have been a significant reason why Qatar did not make the shortlist.
Other cities also backed away from a 2024 bid, including Toronto, which pulled out earlier this week. The Canadian city’s mayor John Tory cited other priorities as the reason for not submitting an application.
The Azerbaijan capital of Baku also withdrew ahead of the bid submission deadline.
As the only US city to apply, LA will be seeking to host the global tournament for a third time, after staging it in 1932 and then in 1984.
If Paris wins, it will be the first time in a century that it has hosted the Olympics, after staging it in 1900 and in 1924. Rome was host to the games in 1960, while for Hamburg and Budapest, it would be their first time to have the Olympics.
The IOC will decide the winning host city in September 2017.