Qatar aims to build $ 20 billion sports sector ahead of World Cup



DOHA (Reuters) – Qatar wants to attract more sports companies into the Gulf State, with the goal of developing a $ 20 billion sports sector ahead of the 2022 World Cup, a senior official said Sunday.

FILE PHOTO – The beIN Sports studio that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup ™ is being presented in Doha, Qatar on October 16, 2018. Photo taken on October 16, 2018. REUTERS / Naseem Zeitoon

The Qatar Financial Center (QFC) – which licenses foreign companies, mainly from the financial sector, to exempt them from local property laws – aims to license about 150 sports companies by 2022, of which about 25 year, said QFC CEO Yousuf Al-Jaida, at an event to announce the strategy. He gave no name.

The campaign to attract multinational sports companies and to facilitate the marketing of sports-related services in the state is part of the project to become a regional center for sporting events in view of the organization of the football World Cup 2022 by Qatar, he said.

This month, FIFA created a joint venture in Qatar to help run the tournament.

"A lot of the value chain is moving to Qatar as we talk about the 2022 World Cup," said Jaida.

Qatar will organize this year the World Championships in Athletics, a biennale even organized by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

"We are looking at sports service companies, legal companies, education and training, sportswear and equipment … it's a detailed group of sports companies around the 2022 horizon," he said. Jaida.

Last year, QFC announced new incentives, such as free offices and start-up capital, to compete with neighboring Dubai.

Jaida said QFC also aims to attract companies in areas such as Islamic finance, fintech and the media, as part of its plans to attract 1,000 companies across all sectors by the time Qatar hosts the World Cup, against about 600 currently.

Qatar seeks to attract foreign investment and diversify its gas-based economy, but faces a diplomatic and trade boycott launched by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt in 2017 The bloc accuses Doha of supporting terrorism, which it denies.

There was no immediately available figure for the current value of sports investment.

Jaida said Qatar is also well positioned to serve as an alternative hub in Dubai for regional markets such as Kuwait, Oman, Turkey and Pakistan, where relations have strengthened since the Gulf crisis.

"We believe that, because of the geopolitical situation, very interesting government-to-government relations have developed between Qatar and the neighboring countries … (and) can constitute target markets for companies wishing to carry out activities outside QFC, "said Jaida. .

Report by Eric Knecht; Edited by Susan Fenton

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