Business Essentials for Professionals


Qatar Football World Cup Targeted By The Country To Create A Sports Sector Worth $20 Billion

Qatar Football World Cup Targeted By The Country To Create A Sports Sector Worth $20 Billion
Making use of the upcoming 2022 World Cup, the authorities in Qatar want to create a large sports sector in the country by attracting more sports companies to the Gulf state and aims to create an industry worth about US$20 billion according to media reports quoting officials from the country.  
According to Yousuf Al-Jaida, the CEO of the Qatar Financial Center (QFC), in charge of issuing of licenses for business for foreign companies primarily in the Qatar’s finance sector which exempts such companies from local ownership laws, the body has set a target of issuing such licenses to at least 150 sports companies by 2022.  That would include issuing license of exemption to 25 foreign companies this year. No names were however given by him.
Qatar has set a target of transforming itself into a regional hub for sporting events as the country and the world gears up to the football World Cup of 2022 to be organized in the country and that latest announcement about the drive to attract sports-related multinationals and bring to the forefront the sports-related services in the state are a part of that larger broader strategy.
A joint venture to help run the tournament was set up by FIFA in Qatar.
"A lot of the value chain is moving to Qatar as we speak for the World Cup 2022," Jaida said.
The World Championships in Athletics, a biennial even organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations, would be held in Qatar this year. .
"We're looking at sports service companies, legal companies, education and training, sportswear and equipment... it's a detailed cluster of sports companies catering to 2022," Jaida said.
 In its attempt to compete with neighbouring Dubai, a number of facilities such as free office space and seed capital, were announced by the DFC last year.
Islamic Finance, fintech and media are some of the areas that the QFC also aims to attract companies in, Jaida said. That would be a part of a broader target of attracting 1,000 companies across multiple sectors compared to about 600 currently, till such time that the World Cup is held in 2022.
The larger aim of Qatar’s economic restructuring is to reduce dependence on natural gas and diversify the economy. However a trade boycott and diplomatic isolation by its neighbours including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt in 2017 had created roadblocks for the country in achieving the target. The accusation against Qatar is that it supports terrorism. Those charges have been refuted by Doha.
No figure about the current investments in the sports industry is available.
Doha is also trying to create a position for itself so that it can be considered to be an alternative as a business hum in place of Dubai for regional markets like Kuwait, Oman, Turkey and Pakistan, Jaida said. He added that Qatar has been able to grow better and stronger relations with these countries since the embargo on it was imposed.
"We believe that due to the geopolitical situation some very interesting government-to-government relations have formed between Qatar and neighbouring countries... (and) these can be target markets for companies wishing to do regional activities out of QFC," Jaida said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc