- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 29, 2015

Saudi Arabia’s proposal to jointly host the 2020 Olympic Games was swiftly rejected for suggesting the competition would be for men only, with the women’s competition taking place in Bahrain.

A consultant to the Saudi Olympic Committee, Prince Fahad bin Jalawi al-Saud, had suggested the ultraconservative kingdom bid jointly with Bahrain so that the women’s events could be held there, The Telegraph reported.

“Our society can be very conservative. It has a hard time accepting that women can compete in sports,” the prince told Francs Jeux, a French sports website. “Wearing sports clothing in public is not really allowed. For these cultural reasons, it is difficult to bid for certain big international events.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which opened its door to joint bids in 2020, released a statement rejecting Saudi Arabia’s suggestion, the Associated Press reported.

“A commitment to ‘non-discrimination’ will be mandatory for all countries hoping to bid for the Olympics in the future,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “This was made very clear in the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms and will even be in the host city contract.

“If this is not applied, the bid would not be admissible. Countries like Saudi Arabia must really work to allow female athletes to ‘freely participate,’” he said. “You cannot simply ‘outsource’ certain issues to another territory.”

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