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A Middle Eastern Olympics

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The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) have not yet hosted an Olympic Games despite being a large and significant region of the world. (For the purposes of this discussion, we will be talking about Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and the Sudan.]

There are considerable problems with a lot of these countries and hosting the Olympic Games should not be their primary (or even hundredth) concern, but I think its interesting to try to establish what countries and cities would be viable in the future.

Israel and Palestine cannot host an Olympic Games and it should be obvious why. Palestine is currently being occupied and Israel has significant domestic issues in regards to how it treats its ethnic minorities. Furthermore, an Israeli bid to host the Olympics would not be internationally supported; it would be as if Apartheid South Africa attempted to bid for the games, there would be massive international protest. Lebanon (Beirut) is also not a viable candidate do to unrest and dangers resulting from the I/P conflict. In regards to the Arab Spring, many countries are far too unstable to host. Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Yemen range from politically uneasy to civil war. None of these states will be able to host the games in the near future let alone the next 50 or so years. Tunisia and Egypt might be able to bid in the middle of the century if a lot of things go right for them, and I mean a lot. Sudan and Bahrain are committing genocides against their ethnic minorities and are thrown right out as potential candidates. Iraq is obviously also unstable and unsuitable because of obvious reasons. Jordan and Morocco have experienced protests, but not on the level of a lot of other countries, with them its a wait and see approach in regards to if they will remain with their current regimes or if future protests might topple their monarchies, but with Algeria they are very much on the brink of instability. Iran is an international pariah and also unstable.

So with that said, the countries that aren't total political catastrophes are Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. However, the list is going to be slimmed down even more when you consider climate issues. Looking at Qatar and Doha (the World Cup and SOG bids), the IOC doesn't want to move the summer games to the winter and FIFA feels as if it isn't safe to hold sporting events in the summer. It seems as though it won't be possible to hold an Olympics in the Persian Gulf regions (Which would rule out Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, and any coastal Iranian cities in the future). The rich, oil nations of the gulf also extensively use slave labor to construct their developments which also presents a moral issue that can prevent their bids from gaining steam as well.

So the list is now Turkey and Azerbaijan, both of which are bidding for an Summer Olympics in 2020. Frankly, neither of these cities are traditionally considered Middle Eastern cities, especially Istanbul which is more European.

Honestly, a Middle Eastern Olympics doesn't seem like a real possibility until at least the later half of this century unless Istanbul or Baku want to self identify themselves as such.

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I have hopes that Istanbul may pull it of this time around. If nothing else, I think it's their best chance to date (though I hesitate to nominate anyone as a frontrunner for 2020 yet).

As for Doha, I've said it before - the WC 2022 may have cruelled their chances, when ironically, i think (technically at least) they're far better suited for an Olympics than a WC.

I don't see that there's any great rush or urgency for the games to go to the region, though.

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As for Doha, I've said it before - the WC 2022 may have cruelled their chances, when ironically, i think (technically at least) they're far better suited for an Olympics than a WC.

AGREE! That's exactlly my point of view, Doha would have been a bit (A BIT) better for SOG than a WC, a WC its ridiculus... :S

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 7 months later...

Rogge Boost for Middle East 2024 Bids


Rogge spoke about the region’s chances of hosting the Olympics in London.

Asked when he thought the Middle East would be ready to stage the Olympics, he told reporters: “This is something that you have to decide for yourself.

“You have to make an assessment of a good candidature and a good candidature encompasses many elements, you need very good support from government and sport authorities.

“You need to show to the world and the IOC that you have people who can run venues and organize competitions."

He said solid financial and security guarantees were among key requirements.

“There is a big file to be made,” he said. “It is not up to us to say you are ready or not ready. It is to you to make an assessment ‘do we feel ready or not’ to put a candidature and then you will have the support of the IOC to assess your weak points and strong points.

“But don’t ask me a date. I would hope as soon as possible.”

He added: “I say the same for Africa. I would hope for an African candidature as soon as possible but then it is up to the Africans to make their proposal.”



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A couple of weeks old, and more about an Islamic Games rather than just the Middle East, but nevertheless probably an interesting read for the likes of us for the list of potential cities this academic puts up (see in bold in the copy):

Muslim nations 'should host Games'

WITH the sun setting on London, Olympic officials are readying to pass the baton to Rio de Janeiro, which will host South America's first ever Games in 2016.

But what of the Islamic world? Never before has an Olympics been held in a majority Muslim nation.

An Oxford University academic has identified 10 Muslim-majority cities that he says could realistically pitch for a summer Games from 2020 and beyond, despite cultural, political and climatic hurdles.

Near-top of his list is Istanbul, which has bid in vain on four previous occasions, while he cites several other potential city bids as also having merit. The International Olympic Committee's acknowledged preference for an African Games soon, could also lend impetus to a bid from Morocco's Rabat. ''From the perspective of the broader international community, engagement with the Muslim world could not be more necessary or timely … and sport has historically been demonstrated as an effective tool in achieving similar goals,'' argues Kasim Randeree, a researcher at the internationally renowned Said Business School.

Although the lasting benefits of hosting the world's greatest sporting spectacle remains a subject of fierce debate, ''it is potentially in their long-term geopolitical and socio-economic interests for a [Muslim] nation to host the Olympics'', he adds.

In his research, Dr Randeree sought to identify the key ingredients of previously successful Olympic bids since the 1960s, including Sydney's, with which he melded the IOC's technical criteria. He then applied his template to 47 of the 56 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Conference that have Muslim majority populations. He drew a line through several for obvious reasons. Religious conservatism disqualified Saudi Arabia, Iraq is war-ravaged, while political instability eliminated Syria, Lebanon and Iran. Several nations were simply too small (Bahrain and the Maldives, for example), while Dr Randeree also excluded nations with no ''substantive Olympic record'' - Albania, Brunei, Oman, Jordan, Turkmenistan and Libya.

Of Indonesia's prospects, ''regional al-Qaeda supported terrorism remains a major obstacle'', he observed.

Dr Randeree's boiled down list, which he first produced two years ago, included three Persian Gulf cities (Doha, Kuwait City, Dubai), along with three in Africa (Cairo, Rabat and Tunis), two in Asia (Almaty and Kuala Lumpur), and the Eurasian cities of Istanbul and Baku.

None of those listed were a lay down misere to triumph in the politically charged bidding war. Fierce summer temperatures would work against the Gulf cities (a factor in Doha's failed 2016 bid) and even though the oil-rich states could climate-proof venues, signature Olympic events such as the marathon would still be adversely affected.

The IOC was also likely to wait and see how Qatar fares when hosting soccer's 2022 World Cup before sanctioning a Gulf Olympics. The aftermath of the Arab Spring, meanwhile, makes less certain a bid from the emerging democracies of Egypt and Tunisia, giving Morocco a leg-up as Africa's front-running Muslim bidder.

''I think Istanbul rates highly because of Turkey's history of Olympic participation,'' said Dr Randeree yesterday. But the IOC may need to be convinced that Turkey is less vulnerable to terrorism before Istanbul can triumph.

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  • 3 months later...

Dubai sets sights on bid for 2024 Olympic Games

Dubai is planning a "comprehensive and winning bid" to stage the 2024 Olympic Games, a top official of the National Olympic Committee said yesterday.

"The UAE has the infrastructure, capability, manpower and know-how to host such events," said Abdulrahman Falaknaz, the NOC's finance director.

He spoke on the sidelines of the Host Cities Summit in Dubai, where many of the world's experts in staging major sports events were meeting.

The UAE has never bid for the Olympics or the football World Cup, the world's two biggest sporting events.

To stage the 2024 Games, a comprehensive bid book must be presented to the International Olympic Committee in 2015, and the winning bid would be revealed in 2017. Among cities known to be interested in hosting the 2024 Games are Paris, Berlin, Rome, Los Angeles and Doha.

A Dubai Olympics would further confirm its place among the great cities of the world. The Games have never gone to the Middle East - or a predominately Muslim country.

Mr Falaknaz said a go-ahead from the Government would accelerate planning already begun. "Our bidding has already started," he said.


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Are we talking about a Middle East Olympics? Or Gulf Olympics? Istanbul is in the Middle East. It is not an Arabic city, however.

I still think that despite the wealth of the Gulf States, and their relative stability, an Olympics there is still a solid 40 years away, at least.

I think the urgency to go to the region will be somewhat dimmed by the flavour a potential Istanbul Olympics would bring to the table. Istanbul offers money, stability, moderation, beauty, safety, and it is vastly more cosmopolitan than anywhere in the Gulf. While Istanbul is not the Gulf, with its Ottoman and Arabic influences, and status as Europe's largest Muslim city, it covers it symbolically.

An Istanbul win in 2020 would push back the Gulft a good two-three decades at least. I think a Middle East Olympics will happen in the 2020's with Istanbul. Beyond that, I think Dubai, Cairo, Teheran, etc.. all have potential.

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Not in my lifetime I hope.

Why not?

What a disappointing attitude.

I want a fundamentalist Islampic Games governed by sharia sports law!!

You could just hold the Olympics in Georgia again and you'd more or less get the same sort of fundamental religous nuts bearing guns than any Olympics in the MidEast.

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Why not?

What a disappointing attitude.

You could just hold the Olympics in Georgia again and you'd more or less get the same sort of fundamental religous nuts bearing guns than any Olympics in the MidEast.

In the traditional sense of the Middle East (ie not including Turkey) I wouldn't want to see Qatar or UAE host. I think Turkey will host in the 2020's too

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In the traditional sense of the Middle East (ie not including Turkey) I wouldn't want to see Qatar or UAE host. I think Turkey will host in the 2020's too

Right. Well, I've made it pretty clear on here my attitude towards Doha's attempts, and not a certain degree, right now, I feel the same way for any potential Dubai shot - but I must concede that Dubai stands in a far greater position than Doha.

If I had to choose, I'd go Dubai. It's far more open, international, cosmopolitan than the relatively provincial Doha. I think Dubai could happen in the second half of the 20th century.

I'd be up for an Atlanta II Olympic Games!

I know you would be.

Speaking of (and forgive me for going off topic) but I wonder how much merit an Atlanta bid in the 2020's would have? I know that instant thought is that it is ridiculous -- but why not? The city seems very well equipped... and the difference is now that Atlanta knows what its weak points are, it would know what areas to focus on. An advantage a second Atlanta Olympic bid would have is Olympic legacy - it could build on the status of being an Olympic city. If not other major US city is appropriate to bid, then surely Atlanta, which is mainly known internationally as an Olympic city would be better than Dallas or Minneapolis?

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Union body calls for boycott of UAE Olympics

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) will lobby to boycott a UAE Olympic Games if the Gulf state does not improve working conditions for migrant workers, its general secretary told Arabian Business.

The ITUC, which has already called for a boycott of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, said it would be appalled if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the UAE rights to host an Olympic Games unless it adopts international labour standards for its migrant workers.

We would be appalled if the [iOC] followed the example of FIFA and awarded a major sporting event before the government has genuinely changed its laws and its practice in regard to treatment of migrant workers, said Sharan Burrow.

No question [we would call for a boycott] unless there is a big shift in the next few years, she added.

A UAE Olympic official said last week that Dubai will bid for the 2024 summer Olympics. The emirate, famous for its luxury hotels, has spent billions of dollars on sports facilities that host a number of international events including the Dubai Desert Classic and the Dubai World Cup.

Qatar, the worlds biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, plans to invest about US$88bn over the next decade to host the 2022 World Cup. Doha has unveiled an unprecedented spending plan to build the stadiums, hotels, bridges and railways needed for the 2022 games, requiring a flood of foreign labourers.

The wealthy Gulf state has been repeatedly criticised over the working conditions of labourers. A report last year by Qatar-based rights group NHRC found 70 percent of workers were only paid QAR1,100 (US$302) a month, while 30 percent of labourers received just QAR800 (US$219) a month.

Accommodation for about 43 percent of them was on the basis of six beds in a room and 31 percent said they have to share one toilet, the report said.

The ITUC, which last week held talks with a number of government officials in Doha, said it has been reassured by the countrys acting labour minister Nasser bin Abdulla Alhumidi that migrant workers who join a labour union would not be punished.

The group, which has 175 members in 153 countries, said it will start to build a presence in the Gulf state to help boost workers rights in Doha. The minister has made the commitment and I can only hope its genuine and well test it in the next couple of months, Burrow said.

Well build a presence and we hope that the labour minister and indeed the government will see that as a constructive step forward, she added.


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Right now, Istanbul is the leading candidate for that role. They only have their own bid and those of two other cities to get in their way. Beyond that, I think there are too many other issues in the region to seriously consider a Games there in the near future. And one of the biggest is the sporting tradition/legacy in the region. Pouring oil money into air conditioned stadia isn't going to solve that one.

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Qatar chief unaware of Dubai interest in 2024 Olympics

Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, secretary general of the Qatar Olympic Committee, has urged the GCC to get behind one candidate city in the race to host the 2024 Olympics.

He confirmed in June that Qatar would bid again for the Games despite failing to make the shortlist for either the 2016 or 2020 contest.

That could put them in direct competition with Dubai, who are expected to put themselves forward having pulled out of the race to host the Asian Games in 2019.

However, speaking at the Doha GOALS Forum on Wednesday, Sheikh Saoud said he was confident a solution to a potential conflict would be found.

“I think Qatar’s strategy for the Olympics has been very clear from the beginning that we would like to host the Olympics one day,” he told Sport360°.

“I think we, as GCC nations are always complimenting each other, we are not competing with each other. So I am sure at a certain level that there will be a decision, if any of the other cities are still insisting to continue to the Olympics there will be a decision that all the GCC will support. I am sure, at a higher level, everybody will reach a solution.

"But, from my understanding, Qatar has announced that they will bid for 2024, but I haven’t heard yet that Dubai have announced.”

Sheikh Saoud spoke about the importance of legacy and branding to hosting major events. And he said more weight should be given to what will be done with stadia and other infrastructure after an event when deciding who to award hosting rights.

“The most important thing is you have to plan the legacy from the beginning and you have to include it with your vision for the country,” he said.

“They will ask you about the Games, they will ask you about the infrastructure and other competitions. But we don’t see it from the international federations and owners of the Games that they will ask you, ‘what are you going to do with that venue?’.

“I think they need to do this as a must. It should be evaluated more in the decision. Sometimes we see many promises, but nothing after.”


note: GCC = Gulf Cooperation Council (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf)

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I tell you, these sheikhs from Doha never learn their lesson. :lol: Best of luck trying to buy getting the olympics, I guess.

Actually, they're getting better at it with each passing season. Look, so far, they haven't been caught buying 2022. And then now, they've enlisted Sarkozy as a spokesman--not the best, but still that's a semi-major statesman.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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