Doha, Qatar…so much activity in sporting events and…

Doha, Qatar…so much activity in sporting events and…
As Qatar unveiled the design for the Qatar Foundation Stadium and Health & Wellness Precinct, a proposed 40,000 seat host venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, so a different branch of the ruling family launched a bid to further expand the business reach of the country.

The QF Stadium is the fourth stadium plan to be revealed. It is expected to be complete in 2018 and be able to stage matches up and to the quarterfinals of the FIFA tournament. The development will target a Gold Sustainability Building Certification in the US Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings system and incorporate sustainably sourced building materials that minimize embedded carbon and adhere to energy usage best practices. Photovoltaic and solar thermal panels will produce energy for electricity and hot water, and help to power the stadium, swimming pool and indoor pavilion.
The stadium and associated precinct will also offer health and medical clinics, male and female gymnasiums, swimming pool, tennis courts, football pitches, cycling and climbing facilities. A range of restaurants and cafes will also be developed as part of the proposals.

QF is one of five venues that will be under construction by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and its partners by the end of 2014.  RFA Fenwick Iribarren Architects is the design consultant for QF Stadium, while Astad Project Management is the project manager. The Khalifa International Stadium built for the 2006 Asian Games, which will be redeveloped to increase capacity to 40,000, was recently announced as the third FIFA tournament venue. Cooling technology will be incorporated to ensure an optimal temperature of 26 degrees Celsius for players and fans – in a stadium with no roof.

This comes as it is strongly rumoured that Qatar will sign up to host an F1 race annually, from 2016 or 2017. Apparently Abu Dhabi paid Formula One around US$73 million to secure its F1 race at Yas Marina…will Qatar top that?  And having secured the 2019 IAAF championships against strong competition, Qatar is pitching for the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) World Cup2019 and 2023 tournaments. I guess money does talk and certainly an agreement such that for an F1 race inclusion will further bolster the position of Qatar globally across the sports and media world. Roll-on the next rounds of Olympics bidding.

On the wider business front, in addition to the multiple events recently secured and Qatari sponsorship of a number of football clubs in UK and Europe the Qatar Investment Authority (QIC), which manages as much as $300 billion including significant stakes in Barclays Bank, Credit Suisse and London department store Harrods, has pitched a £2.8bn bid to take control of Canary Wharf in London. QIC has now appointed a member of the Qatari royal family to replace its chief executive. QIC is one of the world’s most powerful sovereign wealth funds and already owns a portion of Canary Wharf.


Originally published in "Back on the Block", 13 Dec 2014 – read the full edition and subscribe at

Eric Winton

Director, New Millennium Business

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