Saudi Arabia and Qatar to face off in bid to host the 2030 Asian Games
Qatar and Saudi Arabia will compete for the hosting rights of the Asian Games in 2030, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has announced.
In a statement on Thursday, the OCA said it had received bids from Doha and Riyadh, the capital cities of the two neighboring Gulf countries.
The council said it received two bids to host its showpiece quadrennial event in 10 years’ time with Hangzhou, China and Nagoya, Japan set to host in 2022 and 2026 respectively. A press release from the council said both country’s bid applications were accompanied by letters of support from the city and respective governments.
Doha last hosted the Asian Games in December 2006 but Saudi Arabia has never organized an OCA multi-sport event. Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, while Saudi Arabia has landed a number of high-profile one-off events recently, from world championship boxing fights to star-studded golf tournaments.
The President of the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, said: “The OCA is delighted to receive two strong bids for our Asian Games in 2030. “It shows the trust and confidence within the Olympic Movement in Asia and further enhances our reputation of hosting world-class sporting events on a serious scale.”
The last Asian Games was held in Jakarta and Palembang in 2018. Although widely acknowledged as a huge success for Indonesia, who stepped in as hosts after original hosts Vietnam withdrew from consideration, they spent a reported US$3 billion on hosting the Games.
The OCA sent a circular to all 45 National Olympic Committees on January 23, 2020, inviting bids for the 21st Asian Games in 2030. The deadline was Wednesday, April 22. “With these two bids for the 2030 Asian Games we now have stability and continuity in our sports movement for subsequent decade,” Sheikh Ahmad said.
“This will allow our National Olympic Committees, our administrators and above all, our athletes to make solid plans for the future in the short term, medium term and long term. It puts us in an envious position in terms of our sports calendar and highlights again that Asia may be a major partner within the global Olympic movement,” he added.
The election of the host city for the 21st Asian Games in 2030 will be held at the OCA General Assembly on November 29, 2020, on the sidelines of the 6th Asian Beach Games to be held in Sanya, China.
Saudi Arabia, alongside the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, imposed a blockade on Qatar and cut diplomatic and trade ties with it on June 5, 2017. The quartet accuses Qatar of “supporting terrorism” and being too on the brink of regional rival, Iran. Qatar has repeatedly rejected the accusations as baseless.