Dubai's Olympics dream could hinge on success of Qatar 2022
For someone who has pushed the London Olympics project from the start of the bidding process all through to the culmination of the 2012 Games, Dame Tessa Jowell knows a thing or two about the challenges that face a nation looking to host the quadrennial extravaganza.
Speaking at the Emerging Host Cities summit in Dubai on Wednesday, Jowell was quizzed on the potential challenges that Dubai could face should it decide to bid for a future Games.
According to the former Olympic Minister, emphasising the role of women in the event could go a long way in getting the IOC on board.
“I think that the 2012 Games was a highly-feminised Olympic Games. And we campaigned very hard to make sure that every country included female athletes, and in some cases it was a gesture –these were not women who had the benefit of training over 10 years,” explained Jowell, adding that several issues could arise should Dubai decide to bid for the Games.
“I think there will be human rights issues, I think there will be issues in relation to press freedom and there’ll be issues in relation to the role of women.
“If Dubai wants to see change in that, cultural change rather than religious change, then Dubai could say ‘this is the moment that we are going to embrace these challenges and our Olympic bid is going to be heavily focused on all these issues’.
“It’s presumptuous as a foreigner to say these kind of things, but certainly among a significant number of members of the IOC there is great sensitivity to human rights and the role of women, and there’s considerable sensitivity to press freedom.”
Jowell also thinks the key to a future Games in Dubai could be in the hands of Qatar, who are to host the 2022 World Cup.
“I think much will depend on how successful the Qatar 2022 World Cup is.
“It is obviously at the moment subject to consideration in relation to changing the time of year and I think that it just makes sense if FIFA change the time of the World Cup,” she said.
“If it turns out to be a great success, the fact that it doesn’t coincide with much of the world on the move because people are on summer holidays, Europe and America particularly, then obviously that has a bearing on the judgment of the awarding body, the IOC or FIFA.
"That’s why I say the World Cup will be an important staging post perhaps towards any Olympic bid Dubai might be successful in staging.”