Qatar kicks off agency hunt to boost sporting credentials
Steve’s breakdown: The government of Qatar is understood to have begun a major international agency hunt to position the country as a global sporting power. The competitive pitch is being overseen by the Qatar Olympic Committee.
DOHA, Qatar: Last week representatives from a number of large network agencies flew to Doha for early-stage discussions about a brief to promote the country’s sporting infrastructure, as it builds up to hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
One source with knowledge of the process suggested the potential budget was ‘formidable’ and was worth at least a high six-figure fee.
‘It’s about positioning Qatar as a centre of sporting excellence,’ the source said. ‘There will be fairly heavy local support working with the team in Qatar as well as promoting them globally through agency networks.’
It is thought the competitive pitch is being overseen by the Qatar Olympic Committee, which had not returned calls at the time of going to press.
Qatar unsuccessfully bid for both the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games, but pledged to continue bidding for future summer Games.
The work is not thought to be directly related to Olympic bidding, instead focusing on Qatar’s massive investment in sport through international events such as annual tennis tournament the Qatar ExxonMobil Open and its hosting of the 2015 World Men’s Handball Championship.
The decision to award Qatar the 2022 FIFA World Cup was heavily criticised due to the lack of sporting infrastructure in the country as well as the state’s hot climate and strict stance on social iss-ues such as homosexuality.
While the brief does not specifically focus on the build-up to the World Cup, Qatar’s football activity will form an important part of the global comms drive. Last month World Champions Spain played Uruguay in a friendly held in Doha.