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IAAF deny ‘illegal’ $37m offer from Doha

DOHA-BIDMONACO, November 21- Allegations that the Doha team which successfully bid here this week for the 2019 World Athletics Championships made an “illegal” offer of $37 million (£24 million/€29 million) have been denied by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Responding to a statement made by Jose Maria Odriozola, President of the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation and member of the IAAF’s own ruling Council, that Doha had swayed the vote – defeating Eugene and Barcelona – with their late offer, IAAF communications director Nick Davies told insidethegames: “Nothing about this bid infringed the IAAF procedure for the bidding cities.”

It is understood the figure mentioned involved a $30 million (£19 million/€24 million) pledge from a Qatari bank to become a new Official IAAF Partner in a five-year sponsorship deal, with the additional $7 million (£4.5 million/€5.5 million) being offered to providing tracks in the 21 federations currently lacking them.

Similar deals were part of the bidding process which brought the IAAF title sponsors in Samsung ahead of Daegu’s securing the 2011 World Championships, and VTB, the strategic Russian bank, ahead of the 2013 Moscow World Championships.

Doha lost out to London for the 2017 World Championships despite pledging a massive financial investment of $236.2 million (£147.7 million/€188.6 million), including $80 million (£50 million/€64 million) to stage them and the offer of a sponsorship and television package worth $29 million (£18 million/€23 million), as well as underwriting the cost of the $7.2 million (£4.5 million/€5.7 million) prize money.

Second time round, despite their financial weight, they won only narrowly against Eugene, by 15 votes to 12, after Barcelona had been eliminated in the first round.

Odriziola, clearly angry after seeing his nominated city beaten, said after the vote that Doha had won the nomination in “the worst possible way,” adding: “All they have is money.

“In addition, there have been two votes and Barcelona has been eliminated first; it’s incredible. Qatar has offered an extra $ 37 million later the IAAF.

“We said it was illegal…On November 7, the deadline for submitting projects finished and incentives, if any.”

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Odriziola said the offer had come as a surprise to himself and other voting members of the IAAF Council.

“I am very disappointed and very angry,” he said. “I will not go there. I think it’s a bad move for the world athletics.”

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