Comment: Qatar legacies

Sport Business News

With sport being an established and popular way of reaching out to the world, the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) is determined that the Middle Eastern powerhouse should become universally recognised as the sports hub of the region and a major destination for world–class events in all sports, attracting tourists in their droves.

The QOC believes that sport promotes friendship, unity and peace and is determined that Qatar should play its role in this process, building on the success of the 2006 Doha Asian Games and 2010 IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships. Qatar's current bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup is central to this strategy, with the country hoping to firmly lay the ghost of its failed 2016 Olympics bid to rest, and at the same time becoming the first Middle Eastern country to host a mega sports event. At the SportAccord Convention in Dubai at the end of April 2010, the Qatar 2022 bid team unveiled five impressive eco–friendly, carbon–neutral stadia to the media that would be used to host FIFA World Cup games if the bid is successful. Not only is budget seemingly no problem, with millions being spent on stadia cooling solar technology to address the high temperatures that would come hand–in–hand with the required date of the tournament, but each state–of–the–art venue would be linked to a brand new metro system and totally integrated with a comprehensive shuttle bus network, allowing fans to travel to games by public transport. Qatar 2022 can certainly be applauded for designing its new stadia with legacy at the top of the agenda. With their modular design, each venue could be reduced in size after the FIFA World Cup to fit local football and community requirements and, in some cases, transported abroad for permanent use, thus ticking all the right boxes as far as both sustainability and avoiding white elephants are concerned. Along with the demountable venues, Qatar 2022 also plans to make the cooling technologies it has developed available to other countries in hot climates, so that they too can host major sporting events in the future. Sending the venues and related technologies to developing nations is an integral part of the Qatar 2022 bid, and something that the FIFA selection committee and indeed other governing bodies will find hard to ignore. Doing so will allow for the further development of football and sport in general on the global stage, firmly cementing the position of Qatar (courtesy of Doha) in the list of SportBusiness' Ultimate Sports Cities for years to come. About Ultimate Sports Cities 2010Twenty–five cities made the initial cut based on their history of hosting sports events and then were interviewed and ranked according to SportBusiness and independent consultant Rachael Church–Sanders (and also MEI's editorial director) by a range of criteria including the number of annual sports events held, major events held or won between 2006 and 2014, numbers of federations hosted, facilities/venues, transport, accommodation, government support, security, legacy, public sports interest and quality of life. The full results were published in the Ultimate Sports Cities 2010 Report during August 2010 along with detailed case studies on the shortlisted cities and interesting cities that just failed to make the cut. Visit www. sportbusiness. com for further details.

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