Sebastian Coe has responded to a question about Qatar’s continuing ambition to host the Olympics by insisting that it is important for the Olympic movement to follow through on its support for the globalisation of sport.
Speaking in Doha on the eve of the season’s opening International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League meeting, Coe appeared to back a potential bid from the Qatari capital to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“I think it’s really for the National Olympic Committees, and the International Olympic Committee to be very clear that if we are going to globalise sport - and we have consistently turned up to conferences around the world for as long as I have been involved in sports administration and talked about globalising and using sport to impact and imprint on the lives of young people - then we have to make sure that we are, where possible, giving countries that want these events the opportunity to do exactly what we have for the last 30 or 40 years been encouraging them to do," he said.
Qatar was awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup amid allegations of corruption, which they have always denied.
Now there are concerns over the poor treatment of migrant workers brought into help build the facilities and the hot climate the tournament is expected to be played in.
Doha has also been awarded the 2019 IAAF World Championships, again following a bid campaign overshadowed by allegations of improper behaviour.
On the specific question of whether the climate in Qatar could be suitable for an Olympics, Coe commented: “It’s not simply about infrastructure, nor about the commercial considerations.
“These are of course important, and athlete welfare plays a large part in all that.
"But I think the overriding issue for me is always, where possible, to allow sport in its many manifestations, and in particular track and field, to build a global base.”
Qatar, which failed to make the Candidate shortlist in its bids for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, dropped its plans to seek the 2024 Games.
In February the secretary general of the Qatar Olympic Committee, Thani al-Kuwari, was reported as saying that Qatar would certainly bid for a future Games, commenting: The vision and the target is to host one of the Olympics one day…maybe 2028.”