Qatar kicks off agency hunt to boost sports credentials

The government of Qatar is understood to have begun a major international agency hunt to position the country as a global sports power.

The government of Qatar is understood to have begun a major international agency hunt to position the country as a global sports power.

PRWeek UK understands that representatives from a number of large network agencies flew to Doha last week for early stage discussions about a brief to promote the country's sports infrastructure as it prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. One source with knowledge of the process suggested the potential budget was “formidable” and was worth at least a high six-figure fee.

“It's about positioning Qatar as a center of sporting excellence,” the source said. “There will be fairly heavy local support working with the team in Qatar as well as promoting them globally through agency networks.”

It is thought the Qatar Olympic Committee is overseeing the competitive pitch, but it has not returned calls seeking comment at press time.

Qatar unsuccessfully bid for both the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. It has pledged to continue bidding for future Olympic Summer Games.

The work is not thought to be directly related to Olympic bidding, instead focusing on Qatar's massive investment in sports through international events such as the Qatar ExxonMobil Open annual tennis tournament and its hosting of the 2015 World Men's Handball Championship.

The decision to award Qatar the 2022 FIFA World Cup was heavily criticized due to the lack of sporting infrastructure in the country as well as the state's hot climate and strict stance on social issues such as homosexuality.

While the brief does not specifically focus on the build-up to the World Cup, Qatar's football activity will form an important part of the global communications drive. Last month, the Spanish world championship team played Uruguay in a friendly held in Doha.

This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK, the sister title of PRWeek at Haymarket Media.

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