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Monday, November 27, 2023

Qatar: Gain from the World Cup

Qatar started the campaign after receiving the responsibility of hosting the World Cup. Construction of stadium, hotels, transportation arrangements started.

According to the BBC, Qatar has built seven stadiums for the World Cup. It also built a new airport, metro system, many roads and about 100 new hotels. After all, a new city was built around the Lusai Stadium, where the final match was held. According to the Qatari government, 30,000 workers have been hired to build these stadiums alone . According to The Guardian, 6,500 workers have died in Qatar since 2010. Moreover, Qatar has been accused of labor torture and forced labor. There are allegations of corruption in organizing the World Cup, women and LGBTQ issues have to be questioned.

Qatar spent a total of $220 billion (300 billion according to Business Standard), including stadiums (6.5 billion), infrastructure (200 billion) . Qatar will initially earn $17 billion from the World Cup (Arab News), but it will have far-reaching effects on Qatar’s economy.

After gaining independence from the British in 1971, Qatar, a country rich in petroleum and natural gas, rapidly developed its economy, reaching the country with the highest per capita income. But politically Qatar was not that influential in the world. Qatar’s relations with Arab and GCC countries began to strain after the Arab Spring. During the Arab Spring, Qatar aligned itself with Islamist groups, which were considered a threat by the Saudis, Egyptians and Emiratis.

The problem escalated on 24 May 2017, when Qatar criticized then US President Donald Trump and praised Iran. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on 5 June 2017, shortly after President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, and banned Qatari-registered aircraft and ships from using their airspace and sea lanes. Qatar’s only land link is with Saudi Arabia, which Saudi Arabia closes. Later it was settled in 2021. All in all, the FIFA World Cup will help Qatar overcome the crisis in several ways. Let’s talk about the benefits that this World Cup can bring to Qatar. 

Diversification of the economy

Qatar, a GCC country in the Middle East, is a peninsula located east of Arabia, bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia. Qatar is geographically in a strategic location with huge reserves of petroleum and natural gas. Before World War II, Qatar was a poor country, with most of its population engaged in pearling, fishing and trading.

The first petroleum was discovered in Qatar in 1939. Most of the country’s total revenue comes from exports of LNG, crude oil and petroleum products (about 40% of GDP). That is, Qatar is heavily dependent on petroleum and natural gas. Tourism accounts for 10.3% of GDP, which is comparatively less than other Arab countries. The FIFA World Cup will have a long-term impact on Qatar’s tourism sector. The government expects 6 million tourists annually by 2030, which will make Qatar’s tourism sector even stronger. Moreover, the FIFA World Cup will bring in a lot of foreign investment through the development of infrastructure and communication systems, which will make Qatar’s industrial and investment sector stronger. After all, the football World Cup will diversify the country’s economy.

Development of relations with Arab and GCC countries

During the Arab Spring, Qatar supported Islamists who were a threat to other GCC countries. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Emirates say Qatar is fueling radicalization and extremism . Providing financial and moral support to groups that have long been considered conservative, extremist or even terrorist.

They felt that Qatar wanted to create instability in the region by interfering in the internal affairs of others. Since then, Qatar’s relations with other Arab countries have been deteriorating. At one stage, several Arab countries blocked Qatar simultaneously. The White House approval adds another dimension to this hatred. Between 2017 and 2021, neighboring countries imposed a blockade on Qatar, creating widespread geopolitical unrest. One of Qatar’s tasks now is to develop relations with Arab countries. The FIFA World Cup held in Qatar has provided such an opportunity.

Qatar’s World Cup is already benefiting the economies of its neighbors in sectors such as aviation and tourism services, which are expected to boost revenue for Arab countries.

Qatar will use the FIFA World Cup as an opportunity to change the fact that the Middle East has been characterized by intense hostility, rivalry and proxy wars for the past decade. Moreover, Qatar will change the traditional image of the Arab world, introducing the world to the Arab culture. By this, Qatar will improve relations with neighboring countries. By hosting the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Japan and South Korea greatly improved relations with regional power China.

Global Image

Qatar will create a positive image of itself globally by hosting the FIFA World Cup. The FIFA World Cup will play a pivotal role in dispelling the traditional image of Qatar as a hot, seaside country in the desert. The country has spent billions of dollars to show that desert heat is no barrier. Various media say – to show themselves, all the projects that are supposed to start after 10 years, Qatar has finished them 10 years ago, that is, before the World Cup. Qatar is going to build its own image by building a city with beautiful infrastructure, easy transportation, aesthetic hotels to stay in, and above all.

Promoting culture and preventing Islamophobia

Just as a country benefits economically and politically by buying property inside another country, no country can be influential in the international arena without promoting its own culture. That is why one of the most talked about words in the 21st century is cultural war and cultural aggression. Qatar will use the FIFA World Cup to promote its culture as one of the most influential countries in the Middle East and the world. In 2002, South Korea and Japan promoted their culture by hosting the FIFA World Cup, which further enhanced their reputation worldwide.

Another hotly debated aspect of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar is the elimination of Islamophobia . Many female visitors are heard to say – what they thought of Qatar as an Islamic country, in reality Qatar is a safe country for women. After all, the World Cup in Qatar will have a huge impact on eradicating Islamophobia.

Geopolitical advantage and security

By hosting the football World Cup, Qatar will become one of the most important players in geopolitics. Through this World Cup, Qatar will show its economic and political power, in exchange for which it will get a lot of foreign investment and reputation. Just as Hitler demonstrated his political and economic power to the world by hosting the 1936 Olympics, Qatar will demonstrate itself and become influential in the political arena.

Qatar will also strengthen relations with neighboring Arab countries. The arrival of the world’s big leaders by becoming a spectator of the World Cup will create a way to discuss bilateral benefits, which will not only benefit Qatar economically, but also develop mutual cooperation, security, etc.

Through the World Cup, Qatar will reduce the dependence of its economy on natural gas and petroleum and strengthen its security. The country will strengthen its geopolitical position in the world by promoting itself. They have already purchased many properties in the United Kingdom that are larger than those of King Charles III. Qatar buys 30 percent of France’s arms, which gives Qatar political leverage. On the question of human rights over worker deaths in Qatar, France said “it is an internal matter of Qatar”, ensuring the country’s political advantage.

After all, through this organization of the Football World Cup, political, economic, diplomatic, cultural, etc. advantages can make Qatar emerge as one of the most influential in the Middle East and the world.

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