The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will start in less than a week. This marks the first time that the tournament has been held in the Middle East. It also offers the opportunity for the host country to leave a lasting legacy in business development throughout the region.
Kyriaki Kaplanidou, a University of Florida researcher, says that a huge sporting event such as the World Cup — which is the most watched and bet on NetBet Sport in the world — can be an accelerator for change because it creates unexpected and expected business relationships.
Professor of sport management Kaplanidou stated that mega-sports events are a great opportunity for countries to develop their economies and achieve long-term goals. Qatar was chosen 12 years ago to host the World Cup. This gave Qatar the opportunity to work with other countries and build relationships.
Kaplanidou, along with colleagues, examined the process of the industry network in Qatar after its selection in 2010 and how preparations can help to create a business legacy in the Persian Gulf region.
She said that Qatar has the opportunity to diversify its economy beyond oil and gas. The country has spent a lot of money and time to increase its human and physical resources. They have had to learn about how other countries do business, develop innovative construction techniques, and increase their knowledge, skills, and awareness of different cultures and business practices.
Kaplanidou’s research involved the interviewing of 24 Qatari sports organizations directly or indirectly involved with preparations for the 2022 World Cup. Nearly all interviewed identified certain characteristics that could hinder or advance long-term growth.
Media coverage of the event will focus on cultural differences and violations of human rights, as well as Western expectations. Reports have highlighted cases where laborers who were working on infrastructure projects and new stadiums were subject to inhumane treatment. The United Nations condemned Qatar’s racial discrimination and stated that workers’ nationalities play a major role in how they are treated.
The government has made improvements to safety and living conditions for workers, despite denying that they are being treated badly. In 2020, new labor laws were introduced in the country to ensure a minimum wage and to make it easier for workers to move between jobs. New rules in 2021 further restricted the hours workers could work outside in the heat of summer. These reforms have made Qatar’s labor laws some of the most friendly to workers in the Gulf.
One interviewee said in the 2016 study that wars have been a catalyst for change throughout history. There is no revolution in this country, but there are industries that promote change. I believe the World Cup will open doors for Qataris. It will have a significant positive impact on culture.
Kaplanidou stated that “It will interesting to see how the country can reposition itself in the business world, and establish its presence within other industries now it has gained new experiences and knowledge through preparation for this mega-event.”
After years of controversy over the decision to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, the first match will take place on Nov. 20, when Qatar faces Ecuador in Group A action. Fans around the globe are eager to tune in, despite all the negative noise.
Kaplanidou recognized that the World Cup was a unique opportunity for Middle East countries to be proud of bringing people from all over the world together. She will be in Florida with her Canadian husband, even though Greece wasn’t selected for the tournament.
“We will root for Canada in our home.”