DOHA chiefs hope to beat London to the 2017 World Championships today after offering governing body the IAAF a £5m cash incentive.
The chairman of the Qatari bid has attempted to curry favour ahead of today’s decision by pledging to cover the IAAF’s bill for prize money.
Sheikh Saoud said: “The idea is that the prize money from the IAAF could be used for the future development of athletes.”
The move is within bidding rules but will raise fears that the oil and gas-rich Arab kingdom’s financial muscle could swing the vote.
London bid chief Niels de Vos insisted Doha’s offer was “clearly fair” and countered that other commercial aspects of the English proposal more than made up for the prize money incentive.
De Vos said: “A lot of evidence suggests the overall commercial value of a championships in London – not just for 2017 but a two-games cycle which is how broadcast and sponsorship deals are sold – is significantly more than in Doha, certainly well in excess of the value of the prize money.”
London’s success or failure could have major repercussions for the future of the Olympic Stadium, where the event would be staged.