In less than a week, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will kick off in Qatar, marking the first time the event has been held in the Middle East and giving the host nation the opportunity to create a legacy for commercial development across the region.
University of Florida researcher Kyriaki Kaplanidou said big sporting events like the World Cup — the most watched event in the world — can serve as an accelerator for change, as some expected and unexpected business relationships are established.
“Host countries of major sporting events take advantage of the development opportunities they present to achieve long-term goals in areas such as the economy, tourism, socio-cultural, environment, sport and health,” said Kaplanidu, a professor of sports management. “Since being chosen as the host of the World Cup 12 years ago, Qatar has had longer than any other host nation to prepare for the game and build lasting relationships and business networks.”
In a 2016 study published in the Journal of Business Research, Kaplanidou and colleagues examined Qatar’s industry networking process following its 2010 selection and how preparing for the event could create a business legacy across the Persian Gulf region Lay the foundation.
“This is an opportunity for Qatar to diversify its economy into industries other than oil and gas,” she said. “The country invests a lot of time and money to expand its physical and human resources. They must understand the ways of doing business in other countries, learn innovative construction techniques, and develop in areas of knowledge, skills and awareness of other cultures and business practices their human capital.”
As part of Kaplanidou’s research, her team interviewed 24 stakeholders from Qatari sports organisations who were directly or indirectly involved in the preparations for the 2022 World Cup. Nearly all respondents identified characteristics of the country that could hinder and facilitate long-term development.
Cultural and religious differences and human rights violations were at the forefront of pre-event media coverage, compared to expectations in the Western world. The report details detailed cases of inhumane treatment and unsafe working conditions for workers working on the new phase and other infrastructure. The United Nations has condemned racial discrimination in Qatar, saying the nationality of workers played an overwhelming role in how they were treated.
The government has made improvements to safety and worker living quarters while denying that workers are being treated badly. The country introduced new labor laws in 2020 aimed at guaranteeing a minimum wage and making job transfer easier. In 2021, new rules further limit the amount of time workers can work outdoors in the summer heat. The reforms have made Qatar’s labor laws one of the most worker-friendly in the Gulf.
A respondent to the 2016 study said: “Throughout history, war has fostered change. There are no revolutions here, only industries that foster change…I think so [World Cup] Will open doors for the Qatari people. I think this will have a major positive impact on the culture. “
Kaplanidu said: “Now that the new experience and knowledge gained through the process of preparing for this mega event, whether the country can reposition itself in the business world and establish its presence in other industries will be a matter of great importance. Interesting things.”
After years of controversy surrounding the decision to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the first match will take place on November 2. When Qatar faced Ecuador in Group A on the 20th, fans around the world were excited to tune in to their team’s game despite all the negative noise.
Kaplanidoo acknowledged that the World Cup is a unique opportunity for the Middle Eastern nation to proudly bring people from all over the world together, and although her native Greece did not qualify for this year’s World Cup, she will be from Florida with her Canadian husband.
“We will work hard to support Canada from home.”
November 14, 2022