The National Olympic Committee of the United Arab Emirates today confirmed that it will not enter a bid for the 2020 Olympic Games, according to the official news agency WAM. Whilst a feasibility study into Dubai‘s capability for hosting the Olympic Games concluded that as much of 70% of the ‘hard’ infrastructure was already in place or planned, it was decided a bid would be better timed for 2024.
Dubai’s strategy for sports was laid out by UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum in the early 1990’s.
It focused on attracting world class sporting events to the region, and specifically to Dubai in order to expose the region to top class sports. Among those events, Dubai is known now for hosting the well established Dubai World Cup, the Dubai Desert Classic and Ladies Masters (golf), the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, as well as the Emirates Airlines Rugby Sevens, FINA 25m Swimming Championships (2010), UIM Class 1 World Offshore Powerboat Championship, as well as the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.
In 2009, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum established a Working Group chaired by Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum which commissioned a group of sport industry experts to assess sports facilities in Dubai. This culminated in a feasibility study conducted by Price Waterhouse Coopers and Populous to establish whether Dubai would be well placed to enter a bid for the 2020 Olympic Games or thereafter.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, “Hosting the Olympic Games in the Middle East would be a dream come true for the entire region, and we fully intend to place a bid once I am totally satisfied that we are prepared to host the greatest sporting event in history in a way that would add value to the Olympic Movement itself, as well as the youth of the Arab World. Whilst I am satisfied that infrastructure and Dubai’s experience in hosting top class sports events would see us well placed to win a bid, I do believe that much more has to be done in order to leave the lasting human legacy that celebrates the Olympic values”.
“I believe that a concentrated effort must now be made on grass roots sports activities, building our human resources and administrative framework. The Arab Region is known for its hospitality and I do not believe that our region is placing sports as a priority in these turbulent times. Peace is one of the main ambitions of the Olympic movement and has been since the Olympic truce of 776 BC. Our energy needs to go first and foremost to achieving a just and lasting peace for our youth as the bedrock to a future bid which is most likely for the 2024 Olympic Games’.