Qatar has entered the growing race to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games as early as 2032, the Gulf nation’s national Olympic Committee announced Monday after sending a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) indicating it seeks to host the first Games in the Middle East.
Joining nations interested in hosting in 2032 including Indonesia, India, Germany, a proposed joint project between North and South Korea and the current front runner Queensland in Australia – Qatar has launched its third bid following failed attempts by Capital Doha to host in 2016 and 2020.
But for the first time Qatar will be involved in the IOC’s new “continuous dialogue” phase, a process that is designed to quietly explore mutual opportunities, allowing a small group of IOC members to select a proposed host without a structured, costly and transparent campaign.
Under new rules approved by the IOC last year, there is no set date to elect a winner with the choice to be made only when “the timing is right.” The IOC could also propose that an interested region stage the Games instead in 2036 or beyond.
“Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a meaningful dialogue with the IOC’s Future Host Commission to explore our interest further and identify how the Olympic Games can support Qatar’s long-term development goals,” Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) President Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani said in a statement.
“For many years, sport has been a major contributor to our nation’s development. From athletics to cycling, gymnastics to football, tennis to volleyball, Qatar has earned the reputation of a world-class destination for major sporting events. It is this proven track-record and wealth of experience, along with our desire to use sport to promote peace and cultural exchange, that will form the basis of our discussions with the Commission.”
The pursuit of an Olympic Games adds to Qatar’s lofty hosting goals which includes bids to host the 2027 Asian Cup and the 2030 Asian Games. The tiny nation of less than 3 million will be hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup after winning a bid for that event in 2010.
Originally scheduled for the summer of 2022, the Qatar World Cup was moved to November and December due to the region’s extremely hot climate. For the same reason Doha proposed that the 2016 and 2020 Games be held in October, but since those dates would fall outside the IOC’s preferred July and August time frame, both bids were excluded from the final short lists.
Qatar’s World Cup bid has been the subject of corruption allegations and preparations for the event have exposed possible human rights violations.
In an interview with Qatar-based broadcaster BeIN, IOC President Thomas Bach said “we in the International Olympic Committee are happy with the huge interest in the 2032 Summer Olympics, 12 years before the launch of the Games.”
“We are in a great position.
“We made sure that our new approach to this kind of intentions works well. We launched a dialogue between the interested national Olympic committees and a special commission in the IOC.
“Naturally, we welcome Qatar to join this dialogue.”
Bach said last week that as many as 15 regions are already lined up to host either a Summer, Winter of Youth Olympics.
The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has upended the 2032 Olympic bid race that had looked to be within easy reach of Australia before Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk paused the campaign indefinitely to instead focus on the health emergency. Far more organized than its rivals, the bid committee had planned to deliver a completed bid proposal to the IOC this month during the now-postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Now as the world shifts to recover from the health and economic crisis, the bidding landscape has changed and the race has received a restart.
IOC Executive Board members had hinted that the 2032 Games could have been awarded as early as 2021. But the IOC has now instead focused efforts on reorganizing the Tokyo Games in 2021 and ensuring the Beijing 2022 Winter Games remain on track amid the Pandemic.
Earlier this month the IOC canceled the 2022 Youth Olympic Games that were scheduled to be staged in Dakar, Senegal. Instead, the event will take place for the first time in Africa in 2026.
These delays will keep the door open for Qatar and other possible bidders while there are still several years before the 2032 Opening Ceremony.