Sport Business & Related Opportunities in Qatar

Dennis Mills, Scott Druck, Andrew Wingfield & Chris Ford


On 11 May Major Events International (MEI) along with law firm Simmons & Simmons hosted a successful seminar exploring ‘Sports Business & Related Opportunities in Qatar’. With Qatar awarded the honour of being the first Arab nation to host one of the most iconic global events, the 2022 FIFA World Cup and with an ambitious infrastructure agenda to match, it is undeniable that there are fantastic opportunities for companies interested in working in the gulf state.  


Before the event could kick start informing attendees on doing business in Qatar, MEI was grateful to have Scott Druck CEO of the Oxford Strategic Consulting Group giving insight into the basics of the Qatari market. One of the stand out points of his talk focused on the importance of showing respect towards Qatari culture and customs in order to build relationships. Druck duly noted the importance and positioning of family as core to Qatari culture, both business and otherwise.


For that reason, it is advised that businesses wishing to invest in Qatar should exercise the 4Ps - not to be confused with the marketing acronym but; patience, patience, patience and more patience! Andrew Wingfield, Partner of Simmons & Simmons Middle East gave a comprehensive insight into how businesses can be successful when dealing with Qataris in a business sense. He stressed the difference in working culture and the need for religious awareness, with major holidays such as Ramadan seeing working hours reduce. Therefore, as an outside business it is important to keep up the momentum – essentially doing it slow, in order to get there quick. Andrew also included in his presentation key advice on setting up a business in Qatar and the various routes available and provided tips on negotiating to get the deal done.


The FIFA World Cup could create a new culture in Qatar, where football is not the national sport. The Supreme Committee want to support diversity and as such the World Cup is part of the bigger vision for 2030. Chris Ford of Vauban Group spoke on how diverse businesses can engage with the vision of Qatar. There are a number of significant developments happening in the region of Doha such as Lusail City and Msheireb Downtown, both of which present fantastic supply chain opportunities. Chris was keen to reiterate that legacy is at the top of the agenda for the Qatari government and interested companies need to express their interest in being part of this legacy.


The event rounded off with an expert panel who shared their experiences on doing business in Qatar. The panel was chaired by John Hawkins, former HM Ambassador to Qatar and featured Chris Scudamore of PwC Qatar, Charles le Gallais of Via Strategia and Patrick Goudkuil of DJ Goode & Associates. The panel offered their key advice on working in Qatar and fielded questions from the floor regarding their experience on everything from payment terms to national mourning.


With Qatar ever increasingly becoming a key player on the global scale and with multiple business opportunities leading up to the 2022 World Cup and beyond, the take away message is that you need to become accustomed to the Qatari way in order to succeed.


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  Thank you to our partners Middle East Association & Oxford Business Group





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