The double award came after OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah brokered a “win-win” situation which saw the city with the most votes awarded the 2030 Games and the runner-up given the right to host the next edition in 2034.
An OCA Evaluation Committee led by Andrey Krukov from Kazakhstan inspected the candidate cities of Doha and Riyadh during Wednesday’s 39th OCA General Assembly in Oman. This means back-to-back Games will be held in West Asia.
Earlier in the day, Saudi Arabia had asked OCA to halt the electronic voting due to “the possibility of technical fraud”. The electronic vote was therefore plagued by repeated delays as some countries were in attendance in the room while others were joining virtually.
In the end, the 26 countries present at the JW Marriott Hotel had to vote the old fashioned way, by walking up to a ballot box, with the 19 remaining nations still able to vote electronically.
There was also confusion when a tab labelled “learn ethical hacking” was noticed on the screen during the vote, leading to fears the ballot was being manipulated.
Sheikh Ahmad said an OCA staff member’s laptop had “shut down” and had been replaced with one used by an Omani technician, which had the tab about a hacking course open. It led to representatives from both Doha and Riyadh being present in the control room when the vote took place.
At one stage members of the media and camera crews were asked to leave the room with Sheikh Ahmad claiming that some delegates had expressed fears about their votes being captured as they typed on their iPads. They were later allowed to return for the manual vote.
The double award plan was greeted with a round of applause when Sheikh Ahmad explained it and voted through by the Assembly unanimously. On the eve of the vote, the Kuwaiti said he hoped to find a “solution” as the OCA always shows “solidarity and unity”.
Having two bidders is a departure from usual practice for the OCA, which normally makes known its preferred host and then elects it without a vote.
Original news source Credit: gulfnews.com