Qatar to bid for 2024 Olympics

Updated 15 November 2012
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Qatar to bid for 2024 Olympics

DOHA, Nov 15, 2012 Agence France Presse: Doha will make a fresh bid to bring the Olympics to the Middle East for the first time in 2024, having missed out on the 2020 Games.
Gas-rich Qatar, named as surprise host for the 2022 football World Cup, failed to make the short-list for the 2020 Games, leaving Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul in the running as the leading candidates.
But that has not deterred the country’s leaders, with Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, general secretary of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), announcing on Thursday the results of the Qatar Sports Venue Master Plan.
The plan is a two-year audit of the country’s 62 existing sports venues for usability and proposed 11 new ones, in addition to eight venues originally planned by the QOC.
“Our focus since the beginning of this project has been legacy and ensuring that we avoid white elephants,” Sheikh Saoud said.
“We have watched countries build large venues and struggle later with what to do with them; and our team has worked backwards, thinking first about how these venues can be of use in the future before planning their use during major sporting events.”
Abdul Rahman Al-Malki, director of engineering at QOC, added that “the plan was put into place with the Olympics 2024 in mind.”
Qatar ranked high in terms of technical ability in its bid for the 2020 Games, and also offered a degree of certainty in uncertain economic times.
But it has one insurmountable problem that hampers any bid — the harsh climate.
Temperatures in the Gulf country can soar to a blistering 45 degrees Celsius (113F) in July and August when the Games are usually held.
The IOC granted Doha’s bid the rare exception to possibly host the Games in October and November, when the weather is cooler.


‘We want to make Saudi Arabia proud’: Pizzi promises better showing against Egypt

Updated 36 min 58 sec ago
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‘We want to make Saudi Arabia proud’: Pizzi promises better showing against Egypt

  • Saudi Arabia cannot progress from Group A even if they defeat Egypt in their final game on Monday
  • Wednesday’s overall performance was much improved, yet a lack of penetrative passing was obvious

ROSTOV-ON-DON: “Keeping possession of the ball seems to be the absolute and most important thing, but then when you sometimes find issues in getting the ball into your opponent’s half, you have to find other movements and ways of doing that,” said Oscar Tabarez after watching his lackluster Uruguay rely on a solitary Luis Suarez goal to eliminate Saudi Arabia from the World Cup. 
Tabarez was talking about his own team’s struggles, yet the assessment is considerably more applicable to the Green Falcons, who dominated possession and retained the ball with ease in midfield, yet for the second match running looked absolutely bereft of ideas in the final third. With Uruguay and Russia now on six points, Saudi Arabia cannot progress from Group A even if they defeat Egypt in their final game on Monday.
The Green Falcons coach Juan Antonio Pizzi confirmed he intends to stay at the helm of the side for the long-haul, yet is only too aware that the potential of this team is being hamstrung by its inability to score. He called it “our weakness”, adding that his side enjoyed “good ball possession, but no effectiveness”. They, he said, did not have the sufficient “weapons or tools” to equalize.
Pizzi’s side have found the net now just twice in their past five games and against Uruguay managed only three shots on target in 90 minutes — two of which came in added time and were so tame they would hardly have troubled the opposition goalkeeper Fernando Muslera had he been relaxing at his far post sipping a drink. In the 5-0 defeat to Russia last week, they failed to muster a single shot on target. 
Wednesday’s overall performance was much improved, yet a lack of penetrative passing was obvious. One passage of play in the opening exchanges saw Saudi Arabia complete 16 passes untroubled without the ball entering the opposition penalty box. When Uruguay finally won possession, they required only four quick exchanges to find Edinson Cavani on the left wing drilling the ball across the front of goal. 
“I don’t share that assessment,” said Pizzi, when it was put to him that his team was too slow to attack. “We played at the speed that was necessary. We need to be accurate, but if you step up the speed you lose accuracy with your passes. We had control of the game and that was why.”
Striker Mohammed Al-Sahlawi had been the focal point of much criticism from Turki Al-Sheikh, the head of Saudi’s General Sports Authority, after the Russia “fiasco” and was dropped from the side against Uruguay. So too was goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf, another who Al-Sheikh name-checked as having been at fault.
Pizzi, asked whether the scathing assessment from his bosses had forced his hand when it came to team selection, calmly dismissed the suggestion. He also ruled out the notion that administrative issues between the players and the country’s football federation had caused unrest in his squad.
“I have a list of 23 players here and they are all available to play. We are here together and pushing in the same direction. 
“I wanted — and still want — to make the Saudi Arabian people feel proud of our energy and the desire we show in matches. Unfortunately we were unable to do that against Russia and will be playing our next match without any hope of progressing. I hope now they will feel a little more proud even though we are out of the World Cup,” he said.