Qatar in the Olympic System: The emergence of the Al-Thani Nation representatives and diplomatic recognition (1971-1981)
Keywords:Qatar, Olympic, Nation-Building, Sport, Governance, Al-Thani
This paper aims to analyse the Qatar authorities’ practices towards the internationalization of local sports bodies to have a National Olympic Committee (NOC) legitimized. Specifically, the study aims to investigate the emergence of the nation representatives after the country’s independency (1971) until the diplomatic recognition as an Olympic nation (1981). The primary written sources used in this paper are documents of different international sports bodies (IOC, IOA, FIFA, etc.) and also the State of Qatar legislation documentation (decrees, constitution, etc.). To be part of the Olympic system, getting recognition by International Sport Bodies was necessary and also an important move for national-building after the country independency and Sheikh Khalifa’s coup (1972). It can be considered the beginning of an ‘internationalization’ process for the Qatari sport people. Not only as national athletes, sport authorities, members and staff of the local federations had a chance to be selected as “Al-Thani nation” representatives; a public distinction and an opportunity for social ascension. Taking advantage of the civil and military sport institutions, the Qatari royal family adapted on paper the sport governance system, to step into ‘Western-modernity’ and use as a tool to unity the population around Hamad lineage national plan.