The growing influence of Asian sport across the globe clearly transcends the context of results, titles or medals.
Neither the Olympic Games, nor the YOGs, nor most of the major competitions in the most popular disciplines have been immune to the organizational capacity of the continent’s most economically important countries.
Formula 1 is proof of this. Or the shocking soccer world cup Qatar 2022, whose sporting success managed, if not, to leave the questioning of certain social and institutional characteristics of the Qatari state in the background.
These are just two outstanding examples in the midst of a swarm of competitions in which the need that large sports corporations have for the logistical capacity of these countries and, fundamentally, for their money, go hand in hand.
Regarding the first issue, what happened in Doha at the end of last year was a faithful demonstration that, even in the face of setbacks, the Qataris were able to correct mistakes. It happened on the opening day. After the match between the locals and Ecuador, the official transport of the press from the stadium to the IBC took such a long time that no less than 300 special envoys crowded into the bus lift zone. At the same time, dozens of buses were waiting for them to pass five hundred meters from the area: the order was that no transport could enter until all members of the royal family had left. The incompatibility between domestic rules and the logic of a global organization that has the media as a key ally was solved in a couple of days.
With regard to funding, it is unlikely that the holding of the next FIFA World Cups will have a budget that will even reach half of what was spent in Doha.
Be that as it may, the link between mega-events and Asian powers continues to grow in a way that is convenient for both parties.
The latest impact was the recent announcement of the candidacy of India and Indonesia as candidates to organize the 2036 Olympic Games. Two Asian nations together with Poland and Mexico, great news at a time when there have been not a few aspiring cities that have dropped their candidacies amid strong demands from neighbors who don’t seem too happy with the idea of investing their taxes in stadiums. Not at least in the dimension that is required for this type of issue.
Along with the announcement, the IOC recalled its irrevocable demand that no competition be held in a country that restricts the entry of athletes from the more than 200 nations participating in the games.
This is neither an innocent nor an arbitrary announcement.
Beyond what everyone can speculate about the geopolitical conflicts of the growing Indian power, a short time ago the FIFA U-20 World Cup was held in Argentina, an emergency venue after the original winning bidder, precisely Indonesia, a nation that does not allow Israeli citizens to enter, was removed from its headquarters. A scenario similar to that of the Poles, who banned Russian athletes from entering on their way to this year’s European Games.