Cornerstone Global Associates

FIFA 2022 must remain in the region, for Qatar’s sake

Posted by: ghanem on: May 20, 2011

The recent allegations of bribery surrounding FIFA and the way it is run must not be allowed to undermine the fact that Qatar's bid has deservedly won the right to host the 2022 World Cup. Sepp Blatter's refusal to rule out a re-run is especially worrying, given that he is standing for election against Asia's candidate to the post of FIFA President, the Qatari Mohamed bin Hamman. 

Qatar's bid won against tough competition, to the cheering of many and to the surprise, bordering on jeolousy and contempt by others. Those critics will persist in their attempts to take the win away from Qatar.

On the day of the FIFA inspection visit to Qatar last September, Cornerstone endorsed Qatar's win as a long-overdue win for the whole Middle East. Lucian Hudson, then Cornerstone's Managing Director and former Director of Communications at the UK's Foreign Office, wrote:

The Middle East brand is often too narrowly- and misleadingly- associated with oil and conflict. A Qatar win will enhance the region’s brand, for business, culture and sport", in an article re-published by Gulf Times and other Qatari papers

There is no doubt about Qatar's ability to host the tournament. However, one cannot conceal the fact that there are enormous challenges. It is precisely for the same reason why we wanted Qatar's bid to win, that we want it to remain the region. Qatar and its neighbours must consider collaborating to ensure that the bid remains in the Gulf. Collaboration is not easy, but if done properly, offers sustainable benefits. In his report to the British government, Hudson, says "Collaboration does not offer magic solutions and is often tough-going. But if done for the right reasons and in the right way, it can open up possibilities and deliver breakthroughs which traditional means of planning and control cannot produce." The report is available on Cornerstone's website on cstoneglobal.com/enablingstate.

The UAE can ensure that Qatar's win is secured. The UAE has the facilities and culture to do that. The challenge is for both countries to start working closely, on all levels, to ensure this is achieved. Qatar should also consider outsourcing some of the games to the wider region, like Jordan. This does not in anyway undermine Qatar's position, but will help to further enhance its regional position and allow the Qatar brand to be reclaimed, as Qatar's critics slowly take ownership of that brand.