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Joint Bahrain-Saudi bid to host Olympics rejected

MANAMA, January 29, 2015

Plans for a joint Bahrain-Saudi Arabia bid to host a future Olympic Games have been rejected outright by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

It comes after Saudi Arabian General Organisation for Youth and Sports presidential representative Prince Fahd bin Jalawi Al Saud, who also serves as an international relations consultant to the president of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, told French sporting website Francs Jeux that recent IOC resolutions paved the way for such a bid with men's event held in Saudi Arabia and the women's competitions in Bahrain.

However, IOC President Thomas Bach was quick to dismiss the idea of a segregated Olympics, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publiation.

“A commitment to 'non-discrimination' will be mandatory for all countries hoping to bid for the Olympics in the future,” Bach said.

“This was made very clear in the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms and will even be in the host city contract.

“If this is not applied, the bid would not be admissible - countries like Saudi Arabia must really work to allow female athletes to 'freely participate’.’’

Prince Fahd had said in his interview with Francs Jeux that a Bahrain-Saudi joint candidacy would be allowed under the Olympic Agenda 2020 reform package, recently approved by the IOC in Monaco.

These changes opened the door to events being held outside a host city or country, as well as the possibility of joint bids by cities, neighbouring countries or regions, but only in 'exceptional cases'.

“Our society can be very conservative - it has a hard time accepting that women can compete in sports, especially in swimming,” said Prince Fahd.

“Wearing sports clothing in public is not really allowed (and) for these cultural reasons, it is difficult to bid for certain big international events.

“(But) we could envisage it with Bahrain, we have always had a form of co-operation with that country.

“Since the vote on Agenda 2020, we could envisage a joint bid '“ Bahrain would hold the women's events, we would hold the men's competitions.”

In a statement, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said that Saudi Arabia 'cannot simply outsource certain issues to another territory'.

For the first time ever, Saudi Arabia sent two women to the last Olympics Games, held in London in 2012.

However, it was a male-only Saudi team that attended last year's Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Saudi | Olympics | Bid | joint | reject |

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