DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has asked the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to halt electronic voting on the host of the 2030 Asian Games, which Riyadh and Qatar are vying for, due to “the possibility of technical fraud”, Saudi state TV said on Wednesday.
The OCA votes at its general assembly on Wednesday to choose between the two Gulf Arab states, which are locked in a long-running political dispute, for hosting rights to the second-biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics.
OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah said on Tuesday he was looking for a solution where Doha and Riyadh will get to host the Asian Games in the future as both candidate cities battle for the 2030 edition.
In an attempt to prevent a diplomatic dispute, Sheikh Ahmad said he was looking to avoid a vote by persuading one city to hold the 2030 Games while the other staged the following edition in 2034.
However, a senior OCA member confirmed to Reuters that the members were only voting to select who hosts it in 2030 at Wednesday’s general assembly.
Ng Ser Miang, the chairman of the OCA advisory committee and vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said the proposed hosting solution was akin to the IOC decision to award the Olympics to Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.
Doha hosted the 2006 Games but Saudi Arabia has never organised an OCA multi-sport event.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have maintained a diplomatic, trade and travel embargo on Qatar since mid-2017, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.
Qatar denies the charges and says the embargo aims to undermine its sovereignty.
Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli and Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Alison Williams and Christian Radnedge
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