International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe said Sunday (Nov 11) that sport should take precedence over politics and urged nations locked in a diplomatic dispute with Qatar not to boycott next year's world athletics championships in Doha, reported AFP.
According AFP report, Sebastian Coe was speaking in Doha as organisers launched ticketing arrangements for next year's event, the first athletics world championships to be held in the Middle East.
"I fully expect a full contingent of federations to be there," said Coe, a double Olympic gold medallist.
"And it's very important that international sport consistently and continually makes the point that we have primacy over politics and that is very important."
Qatar has been isolated for the past 17 months by Saudi Arabia and its allies including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. They have imposed a near-total embargo on Qatar since June 2017 over allegations the emirate supports radical Islamist groups and seeks closer ties with Riyadh's arch-rival Tehran. Qatar denies the charges, accusing its neighbours of seeking regime change.
The world athletics championships is potentially the first major global sporting test of Qatar's regional isolation. The football Gulf Cup, meant to be hosted by Qatar beginning in December 2017, saw Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain withdraw from the event, before rejoining after it was switched to Kuwait.
Coe said next year's championships, which run for 10 days and begin on September 27, was "very important" as it would give athletics a "footprint" in the region.
The world championships will be held Khalifa Stadium. The IAAF announced that stadium ticket prices will begin at 60 Qatari riyals, ($16, 14 euros). The event will see several innovations, including evening-only sessions, a marathon held at midnight because of fears over Doha temperatures, and mixed-race world championship relays for the first time.
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