An Oxford University academic has classified 10 Muslim-majority cities that he says could sensibly host the Olympics from 2020 and beyond, despite cultural, political and climatic hurdles, Arabian Gazette reports.
With the London Olympics coming to an end and Rio de Janeiro now four years away from its debut as the first South American city to host the Olympics, the report explored the possibility of a majority Muslim nation hosting the popular sports event for the first time in Olympics history. Never before has an Olympics been held in a majority Muslim nation.
Kasim Randeree, a researcher at the internationally renowned Said Business School, said in a study that Istanbul, which has lost four previous bids, tops the list.
“From the perspective of the broader international community, engagement with the Muslim world could not be more necessary or timely … and sport has historically been demonstrated as an effective tool in achieving similar goals,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Randeree, as saying.
“It is potentially in their long-term geopolitical and socio-economic interests for a [Muslim] nation to host the Olympics. I think Istanbul rates highly because of Turkey’s history of Olympic participation,” he added.
Randeree claimed that fierce summer temperatures would work against the Gulf cities, and even though the oil-rich states could climate-proof venues, signature Olympic events such as the marathon would still be negatively affected.
Earlier this year, Doha, capital of the Gulf state of Qatar, and Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, were cut from the list of cities bidding to host the 2020 Olympic Games after failing to make the final list for the 2016 Games.
Even though Qatar had the financial means to carry off the 2020 bid, it could not convince the IOC to take a chance on holding the Summer Games in October. Apart from the temperature problem was the prospect of low television ratings due to potential conflicts with television and other sports events going on during that time of year.