Sebastian Coe said on Friday that Qatar could move the Summer Olympics to later in the calendar year if the Gulf country ever successfully bids to host the Games.
Speaking in Doha, where he met heads of the Asian Athletics Association (AAA), Coe said athletics had to prove flexible if it wanted new countries to host the showcase event.
Asked if the Summer Olympics could be moved if Qatar hosted, Coe said: "Yeah, we have to be realistic about this.
"We have to recognise that the world wants sport and it's not always going to be bidding from areas where there aren't going to be challenges.
"And those challenges are not just geographical or climatic, they are social, cultural, they are political."
Qatar is controversially hosting the World Cup in 2022 when, for the first time, games will be played in November and December because of concerns over the country's fierce summer temperatures.
It was originally scheduled to be played during Qatar's summer months when temperatures regularly the high 40s Celsius (115-plus degrees Fahrenheit).
Doha has publicly stated that it will bid for future Olympics, with 2028 being a likely contender.
Earlier this year, a senior member of Qatar's Olympic committee said the country had a "vision and target" to host an Olympics "one day".
Qatar previously unsuccessfully bid to hold the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will be hosted in Japan.
Doha was strongly expected to bid for the 2024 Games but in the end decided against running.
Energy-rich Qatar is busy building facilities which could be used at an Olympics, despite the recent slump in oil prices hitting economic returns.
As well as the expected eight stadiums to be used for the 2022 World Cup, Qatar will host the World Athletics championships in 2019 and the 2023 FINA world swimming championships.
It hosted the world handball championships in 2015, the paralympic world championships last October and recently the cycling world road race championships, although there were complaints about the heat and lack of spectators.
Coe added that it was "not unusual" to move the date of the Olympics.
He pointed out that the Sydney games in 2000 were held later in the year, in September and October, as were the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
The 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha will be held in late September and early October, when temperatures can still approach 40 degrees Celsius, (104 Fahrenheit).
The 2017 edition of the championships will be held in London during August.
The 2015 world championships were hosted by Beijing, again in August.
The decision to move the 2022 World Cup met with opposition from some television broadcasters and national football federations.