Qatar drives on in sports
A word on the ongoing sports events campaign that Doha is successfully driving. Supported by over $200 billion being spent on sports and cultural venues, new infrastructure and other facilities. The most recent to cause some controversy the IAAF’s decision to award the World Championships in 2019 to Doha. Doha beat out Barcelona and US city Eugene who’s bid was heavily backed by Nike. It does seem as if global warming and sporting events are going hand-in-hand, while Doha’s lessons and experience in capturing the 2022 FIFA World Cup and earlier bids for the IAAF champs are being put to good effect.
They’ll be back soon for another crack at the Olympic Games, betcha.
Mike Rowbottom wrote in InsidetheGames that the minuses for Doha were obvious – its political situation, the question of workers and human rights, the question of whether the renovated Khalifa International Stadium would be filled for a nine-day event. And of course, the temperatures.
But the concern was that if Doha was to be rebuffed a second time, would it decide to invest its huge wealth in other areas such as equestrianism or motor sports?
The sense is that the IAAF has squeezed the Doha lemon before it all goes sour – and left the US market, with the NBC's massively renewed US$7.75 billion deal to cover the Olympics through to 2032, for its next task.
And the BBC notes that that Qatar is hardly Mr or Mrs Popular in the region, having fallen out with Bahrain, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and other near neighbours in recent months over its alleged financial support for Islamist opposition groups and militants.