It is still more than a decade away but bidders are already beginning to position themselves for a run at hosting the 2024 Olympic Games.
Dubai has become the first nation to officially declare its interest in the 2024 event, but the United Arab Emirate is likely to face stiff competition from around the world.
The emirate had been expected to bid for the 2020 games.
However, while a feasibility study into its capability for hosting the 2020 Games concluded that as much as 70 per cent of the ‘hard’ infrastructure was already in place or planned, Dubai has decided a bid would be better timed for 2024.
United Arab Emirates National Olympic Committee chief, Shaikh Hamdan, said: “Hosting the Olympic Games in the Middle East would be a dream come true for the entire region, and we fully intend to place a bid once I am totally satisfied that we are prepared to host the greatest sporting event in history in a way that would add value to the Olympic movement itself, as well as the youth of the Arab World.
“While I am satisfied that infrastructure and Dubai’s experience in hosting top class sports events would see us well-placed to win a bid, I do believe that much more has to be done in order to leave the lasting human legacy that celebrates the Olympic values.
“I believe that a concentrated effort must now be made on grassroots sports activities, building our human resources and administrative framework.
“Our energy needs to go first and foremost to achieving a just and lasting peace for our youth as the bedrock to a future bid which is most likely for the 2024 Olympic Games.”
The odds of the Olympics heading to the Middle East – following events in London next year, Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and an as yet unnamed host in 2010 – have shortened dramatically in recent months, with Qatar having been awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
However, France is shaping up to be the early front runner, hoping to host the 2024 event on the centenary of 1924 Paris Olympic Games.
Some €35 million has already been allocated to develop the future Parisian bid, after the city missed out in 1992, 2008 and 2012.
The president of the Peruvian Institute for Sports, Arturo Woodman, has also confirmed the country would bid for the 2024 Games.
However, with Rio de Janeiro hosting the event in 2016, the IOC might view this as too recent for a South American return.
Madrid, Spain, is also believed to be planning a bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, most likely should they fail to be awarded the 2020 event.
A decision is expected in 2017.