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Doha to host 2030 Asian Games, Riyadh 2034 edition

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Chairman of Qatar Olympic Committee Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani (2nd L) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (2nd R) are pictured during the 39th OCA General Assembly in Muscat, Oman on December 16, 2020 after Doha was selected as host city for 2030 Asian Games. AFP

Muscat, Oman (AFP) – Doha will host the 2030 Asian Games, the Olympic Council of Asia announced Wednesday, while Riyadh was named as host of the 2034 edition under a compromise agreed between the rivals.

An executive board meeting of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) unanimously approved the proposal to name the runner-up in the two-horse race for the 2030 games as 2034 hosts.

The decision means Qatar will play host to the multi-sport event eight years after it organises the 2022 football World Cup finals.

“I can now announce… that the city who had the highest vote and will host 2030 is Doha,” said OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.

“The second hosting city, for 2034, is Riyadh.”

Voting was delayed by hours after technical problems with the online system, in place to allow some national olympic committees to participate remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I apologise for the technical problem we are facing during our voting,” said Sheikh Ahmad.

“Today the difficult things have been solved and the easy things have been problems.”

“I will be glad to have two games in west Asia, to be honest,” added Sheikh Ahmad.

Twenty-seven votes went to Doha, 10 to Riyadh and eight were abstentions, according to an official count.

Saudi and Qatar are locked in a bitter dispute after an alliance of countries led by Riyadh cut diplomatic, economic and transport ties with Doha in 2017, accusing it of backing radical Islamists and Iran.

Qatar denies the charges and there has been progress to reconcile the dispute in recent weeks with all sides praising Kuwaiti-led mediation.

Ahead of the vote, the OCA’s president said he was seeking a “win-win” situation for Doha and Riyadh.

Doha hosted the Asian Games in 2006 while Saudi Arabia has never organised an OCA multi-sport event.

Qatar is also participating in the bidding process for the 2032 summer Olympics.

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