mike rowbottom©insidethegamesIt has been said this week, in the aftermath of Doha earning the right to stage the International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) World Championships in 2019 at the second time of asking, that the awarding body has ignored the elephant in the room.

There is some truth in that - but the question is, which elephant?

The mammal in question, according to some British newspapers was Qatar's lamentable record in terms of the hundreds of migrant workers who have died during the building of facilities for the 2022 World Cup Finals.

The discussion with the IAAF Council overran by more than an hour ahead of the decision to award the Championships to Doha ahead of Eugene by the narrow margin of 15-12 votes, which meant the official press conference offered the opportunity for just one question to the jubilant team who had succeeded where they had failed three years earlier in seeking the 2017 World Championships in competition with London.

It did not concern the issue of migrant workers' mortality.

Nicholas McGeehan, Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch, told British newspaper: "The IAAF must surely have known that Qatar's labour system remains deeply exploitative so this raises the question as to how important it considers the lives and welfare of the migrant workers on whom the 2019 World Championships will depend."

Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International's researcher on migrants' rights in the Gulf, warned of real concerns that the World Championships and the 2022 FIFA World Cup will "take place under a shadow of migrant labour abuse".

The Khalifa International stadium,which will now host the 2019 IAAF World Championships, is being rebuilt - but Doha has a bad record in terms of workers who have died or been injured in creating the venues for the 2022 World Cup finals ©Getty ImagesThe Khalifa International stadium,which will now host the 2019 IAAF World Championships, is being rebuilt - but Doha has a bad record in terms of workers who have died or been injured in creating the venues for the 2022 World Cup finals ©Getty Images

Meanwhile, Labour's Shadow Minister for Sport, Clive Efford, said: "The IAAF must be aware of the scandal of the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar.

"This is an appalling decision that risks bringing the sport into disrepute. I urge the IAAF to reconsider their decision."

Not going to happen. Even though there was a veritable herd of elephants in the room when the 27 voting members of the IAAF Council deliberated in their Monaco HQ on Tuesday before the final vote.

Among the other large mammals with trunks in the Council chamber were the questions relating to Qatar's annexing of the 2022 World Cup Finals, and the subsequent FIFA inquiry into allegations of related corruption, an inquiry which has cleared both Qatar and Russia, who will stage the 2018 World Cup Finals, of any wrongdoing - and which has subsequently been repudiated by the FIFA Ethics Investigator Michael Garcia, who has said the eventual report contained "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions".

Other trumpetings had to do with political tensions in the Gulf which prompted Egypt to withdraw from the World Short Course Swimming Championships due to take place in Doha from December 3 until 7, and which also caused the withdrawal from Doha's hosting of the 2015 World Handball Championships of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates - both strong supporters of Doha's original bid for the event.

Bahrain and the UAE were said to have taken this action in protest at Qatar's alleged support of Islamist groups in the Middle East, including the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Although not confirmed, it is believed this was also the reason for Egypt's withdrawal from the World Short-Course Championships, although this country is still down to contest the World Handball Championships. Following meetings this week, Bahrain and the UAE have now gone back on their boycott of the World Handball Championships.

But, arguably, the biggest large grey mammal in the room had a label around one of its tusks with the word "Temperature" on it.

The Qatar Olympic Committee's senior adviser, Aphrodite Moschoudi, told the Council that moving the Championships from its traditional mid-August spot to 28 September to 6 October would be an advantage.

"There are two great things about these dates," she claimed. "First the temperature in Doha at this time of year is no different from several recent World Championships. Second, it would allow us to introduce the innovation of staging the Championships as a fantastic grand finale to the season, which we know is something you often discuss."

The women's 1500m in progress at the 2013 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha, where temperatures were greater than will be the case during the 2019 World Championships, the Doha bid team assured the IAAF ©Getty ImagesThe women's 1500m in progress at the 2013 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha, where temperatures were greater than will be the case during the 2019 World Championships, the Doha bid team assured the IAAF ©Getty Images

But during the last week of September and the first week of October this year the mean temperature was 37 degrees in Doha. That is not comfortable in any language.

In May this year, Scottish athlete Eilish McColgan wrote about visiting her mother, former world 10,000 metres champion Liz Lynch, who has relocated to Doha.

"Walking out of the airport at 9pm was a complete shock to the system and I was definitely not prepared for Doha's hottest day in 'oh so many years'

"Opening the door was like walking into a human furnace. It genuinely felt like the sun was directly in front of my face, within touching distance. My first track session was at seven in the evening as the sun set but, even so, it was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit."

Eilish McColgan, pictured before this season's IAAF Diamond League meeting in Glasgow, knows at first hand what the temperatures are like for athletes in Doha ©Getty ImagesEilish McColgan, pictured before this season's IAAF Diamond League meeting in Glasgow, knows at first hand what the temperatures are like for athletes in Doha ©Getty Images

I can empathise with that. Exiting a plane at Doha in September, en route to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, felt like entering an oven. Even at 10pm.

There are other voices, however. Britain's now retired 110m hurdler Andy Turner tweeted this week: "Having raced in Doha 3 times I think they will put on a spectacular world champs. Athletes just need to adjust training plan, #simples"

The decision Doha have made in terms of timing the Championships has also created questions as well as answers.

"I wonder who has the Indoor champs in 2020, will they be happy with Doha 2019 in October?" tweeted Britain's former world 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene.

So what happened in the IAAF Council chamber which delayed this week's decision by an hour?

The Doha 2019 bid team celebrate Tuesday's news in Monaco that they have been awarded the IAAF Championships ©IAAFThe Doha 2019 bid team celebrate Tuesday's news in Monaco that they have been awarded the IAAF Championships ©IAAF

The truth was that both Doha and Eugene tempted the IAAF by offering expansion into, or in the case of the United States, a return to virtually untapped markets for the sport in terms of visibility of athletics among their populations.

Both of the bids which reached the second round following the elimination of Barcelona were economically rich, which was naturally of interest to the IAAF's existing commercial partners and also offered the IAAF the chance to attract new partners

One of the biggest elements in favour of Eugene - which was described by world 1500m and mile record holder Hicham El Guerrouj as "the Mecca of track and field" - was its certainty of filling the stadium at Hayward Field – a stadium that would have been transformed into a state-or-the-art arena through a $2 billion (£1.3 billion/€1.6 billion) investment.

The minus for Eugene, however, was the perception that it was a relatively unknown location for a sporting event which purports to be the third largest in the world behind the Olympics and the World Cup. There were concerns that awarding the Championships to Eugene might make the IAAF appear a little desperate.

An additional thought within IAAF circles was the notion that If Eugene was the only venue in the United States wanting to stage its World Championships, was it really a realistic potential market for the sport?

The minuses for Doha were obvious - its political situation, the question of workers and human rights, the question of whether the renovated Khalifa International Stadium would be filled for a nine-day  event. And of course, the temperatures.

But the concern was that if Doha was to be rebuffed a second time, would it decide to invest its huge wealth in other areas such as equestrianism or motor sports?

The sense is that the IAAF has squeezed the Doha lemon before it all goes sour – and left the US market, with the NBC's massively renewed $7.75 billion (£5 billion/€6.2 billion) deal to cover the Olympics through to 2032, for its next task.

Mike Rowbottom, one of Britain's most talented sportswriters, covered the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics as chief feature writer for insidethegames, having covered the previous five summer Games, and four winter Games, for The Independent. He has worked for the Daily Mail, The Times, The Observer, The Sunday Correspondent and The Guardian. His latest book Foul Play – the Dark Arts of Cheating in Sport (Bloomsbury £12.99) is available at the insidethegames.biz shop. To follow him on Twitter click here.