Almaty and Beijing pledge February 2022 Winter Olympic dates – risking FIFA World Cup clash

 

Almaty and Beijing, the two cities in the running to host the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, have made their Candidature Files public and have both pledged to hold the event from February 4 to 20.

The February dates present the distinct possibility of there being a clash with the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, with some having thought the candidates might opt for a later date to avoid the prospect of such a clash.

The likely dates for Qatar 2022 are thought to be either January-February or November-December in order to avoid the searing summer heat in the Gulf nation.

When asked by insidethegames last month about whether a January-February World Cup was out of the question, FIFA President Sepp Blatter confirmed his opposition to the idea but did not commit to being able to prevent such an eventuality.

“Definitely I, as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, would be against holding the World Cup at the same time as the Winter Olympics,” said the Swiss.

“That is a fact.”

A final ruling on the timing slot is expected in the spring, a few months before the IOC selects either Beijing or Almaty as the host at its Session in Kuala Lumpur on July 31.

IOC President Thomas Bach recently claimed there would be “no winners” if the Winter Games and the World Cup coincided.

“A clash would be bad for the international audience who would have two major sports programmes broadcast worldwide, so the public’s attention would be divided,” Bach said.

“Also for the sponsors, there are some that are common to FIFA and the IOC.

“To manage these two kinds of programmes at the same time would be very difficult, so in the end there would be no winners.”

The proposed dates formed part of the city’s Candidature Files, which have been made available on the bidding cities’ websites following the official submission of them to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on January 6.

Beijing’s Candidature File consists of three volumes divided into 14 themes.

It provides detailed explanations regarding more than 200 questions and requirements raised by the IOC in relation to the organisation of the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, including the overall concept for the Games, its vision and venue plans, as well as plans for transport, media operations and security.

The File sheds further light on how Beijing 2022 will bring to life its pledge to running an athlete-centred, sustainable and economical Games.

In compliance with recommendations included in the IOC’s Agenda 2020 reform process, Beijing 2022 intends to capitalise on Beijing 2008’s legacy, not only in terms of existing competition venues – five of which will be reused for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games – but also in terms of infrastructure, operations experience and much more.

Almaty’s plan, meanwhile, is to return to a responsible, sensible concept for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in a city that has “the ideal geography and weather for an intimate and fun Winter Games”.

“It is clear that creative, effective concepts are needed for future host cities, especially for the unique needs of a Winter Games,” said Almaty Mayor, Akhmetzhan Yesimov.

“First, a city has to demonstrate a real need for the Games for its people and its country – and this need has to be practical, affordable, and most of all sustainable.”

He added: “Given this reality, from the beginning of our planning we made sure that we maximised the use of our existing winter sports facilities – which is almost 60 per cent.”

Almaty 2022’s Games concept incorporates many of the IOC’s Agenda 2020 reforms such as lower hosting costs, integrating sustainability throughout all Games planning, maximising the use of existing venues, and direct coordination with the long-term development of the city and region.

Of the 14 venues needed for the Winter Games, eight already exist, three are planned for Almaty’s hosting of the 2017 Winter Universiade and the remaining three are additional venues needed for the Games.

“Our technical plan is perfect for the Winter Games,” said secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan Timur Dosymbetov,

“We designed it to be so because the athletes need and deserve it.”

He added: “Given the decreasing number of cities climatically capable of hosting a Winter Games, we think it is crucial to show the Olympic Movement that Almaty offers an ideal setting in terms of climate, geography and winter sports hosting experience.

“It is all here and it is all real.”

This article was republished with permission from the original author, insidethegames.

 

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