Qatar wants to bring the Olympics to the Middle East for the first time.
Qatar’s National Olympic Committee took an initial step ahead of a potential bid process, requesting to join the non-committal dialogue phase with the International Olympic Committee to host an Olympics and Paralympics as early as 2032.
The 2024 and 2028 Olympics were previously awarded to Paris and Los Angeles. Olympic hosts are typically determined seven years in advance by IOC members vote, putting the 2032 race in the very early stages.
“The Olympic rings are a symbol of peace, unity and hope for people around the world, including the people of our region,” Qatar’s Olympic committee said in a press release. “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.”
An interest in bidding for the Olympics comes as Qatar continues to face corruption allegations over how it won the rights to host the World Cup in a FIFA vote in December 2010.
In April, American prosecutors revealed new details of alleged bribes paid to FIFA executive committee members to gain their votes.
An earlier FIFA investigation found some of Qatar’s conduct “may not have met the standards” required by FIFA but concluded there was no “evidence of any improper activity by the bid team.” Qatar has denied any wrongdoing.
Qatar bid for the Olympics for 2016 and for 2020 with its capital of Doha, but both times it was eliminated before the voting phase. It recently hosted world championships in swimming (short course, 2014), gymnastics (2018) and track and field (2019).
Other nations to express interest in hosting the 2032 Olympics are Australia, Egypt and a joint North-South Korean effort.
FIFA had to move the World Cup from its usual June-July slot to November-December 2022 due to the desert country’s fierce summer heat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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