Last week, Doha, Qatar was named the host city for the 2019 IAAF Track and Field World Championships, beating out Eugene, Oregon, and Barcelona, Spain. Now it emerges that the Doha bid offered up about $37 million in "incentives" in the minutes before the vote, and the IAAF wants everyone to know there's nothing wrong with that.
Spending money is nothing new. Bid cities routinely offer to pay out the prize money, taking the financial onus off the IAAF. But Doha's bid did that, then went above and beyond, promising—at the last minute—some $37 million. Doha beat out Eugene in the final round of voting by a 15-12 tally.
Doha's £23.5m offer on top of the prize money fund, which comprised sponsorship from an unnamed bank and an offer to build 10 new tracks around the world, has sparked renewed debate among IAAF members about whether the process is open to abuse.
"I can say categorically that this combined offer did not break any rules. Both Eugene and Barcelona had the same opportunity but were either unwilling, or unable, to do so," said the IAAF spokesman.
So Doha's offer was on the up-and-up. Save any outrage for an IAAF system that makes money the foremost requirement for a successful bid.