Super-rich Qatar confirmed Friday they will bid for the 2020 Olympics after receiving positive feedback on plans to stage the showpiece in the autumn to escape searing 40C-plus summer temperatures in the Gulf.
Qatar has already been controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup which will be played in specially-created, air-conditioned stadiums.
But their Olympics would take place in September and October instead of in the traditional window between July 15 and August 31.
Four cities have already submitted bids to host the 2020 Games — Rome, Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said earlier Friday that plans to stage the Games in the autumn would be discussed with the Qataris.
“I will listen to my colleagues and find a consensual opinion,” Rogge said.
“But we’re not making a news release immediately, because we want to discuss with Qatar the decision that we make.”
Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) president Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani said that following confirmation regarding the flexibility of dates, his country was entering the 2020 race.
“In light of the decision of President Rogge and the IOC Executive Board, I am delighted to formally announce Doha’s bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020,” said Sheikh Tamim.
“I wish to personally thank Jacques Rogge and the IOC for guiding us through and supporting the QOC in entering the bidding race without the disadvantage of dates.
“I look forward to working closely with the IOC and the wider Olympic family hopefully all the way through to the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September 2013 for what could be an historic moment for the Olympic Movement and the Middle East.”
Qatar had bid unsuccessfully for the 2016 Olympics, but the ambitious plan was scuppered by the summer dates.
Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the secretary-general of QOC, said the Qataris’ bid was stronger this time round.
“We appreciate the understanding shown by the IOC and we have listened and learned from our 2016 attempt to bid for the Games,” said Sheikh Saud.
“We have also consulted all of the current Olympic sport federations and are pleased to have received a very favourable response to our proposed dates.
“This has been a fruitful journey, and we are pleased that the IOC has granted us permission to propose hosting the Games between September 20th and October 20th.
“We know that it is imperative that we guarantee ideal conditions for athletes, technicians and spectators, and ensure events are scheduled appropriately for broadcasters and that is what we will do.”
The deadline for submitting bids is September 1 and the IOC will decide in September 2013 in Buenos Aires who will host the 2020 Games, which will follow the 2012 and 2016 editions in London and Rio de Janiero.