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Volume 6 No. 213


Qatar unveiled plans to build a $5.5B island "off the coast of Doha with floating hotels" to house football fans "expected to flock to the country" for the 2022 World Cup, according to Doherty & Menon of REUTERS. Plans for Oryx Island, which would feature luxury villas, a water park, and five floating hotels using cruise ships, "were unveiled by Qatari developer Barwa Real Estate, part-owned by Qatar's sovereign wealth fund." Barwa's CEO Abdulla al-Subaie said that "the hotels would be able to house as many as" 25,000 football fans. Subaie said, "We anticipate that there will be a short-term demand for hotel rooms, so maybe it is not wise to offer all these hotel rooms for only a short time. Cruise ships can be docked for one week, two weeks. It can be mobilized and demobilized for a short time" (REUTERS, 5/27). In N.Y, Tim Falconer wrote Barwa said that the Oryx Island "will use electrical vehicles, water taxis, ferries and private boats to transport visitors." The Oryx Island project is slated for completion in seven to eight years time. Estimates "on how much Qatar and the wider region will benefit from one of world’s most popular sports events vary," but the country is expected to spend at least $100B on infrastructure such as sports stadiums, hotels and transport. It is already "reaping the economic benefits of this with GDP expanding by 6.6% last year" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/27). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Mark Baber reported Barwa "has denied its proposed Oryx Island & Gulf Resort projects, widely reported as planned to house World Cup fans, are in any way related to projects for the 2022 World Cup." A Barwa spokesperson said, "The Oryx Island & Gulf Resort are projects proposed by Barwa Real Estate in the waters of the Arabian Gulf to support the economy diversification plans in Qatar and not in any way related to the projects of the World Cup 2022" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 5/28).

The organizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar "have hired IMG and Amsterdam Arena as stadium operations consultants for the prestigious football tournament," according to Daniel Shane of ARABIAN BUSINESS. The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said that "the two would assist on the development of business cases for all of the competition venues during the event, including stadia and their precincts, as well as training sites." Amsterdam Arena and IMG "will also perform technical reviews of each stadium at every design phase, on aspects including safety and security, maintenance, technology integration, catering and commercial strategies." Amsterdam Arena CEO Henk Markerink said, "By involving us in this early stage and letting us develop the program-wide strategies on various subjects, we can optimally contribute to the organization of the World Cup" (ARABIAN BUSINESS, 5/28). Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi said, "The appointment of Amsterdam Arena and IMG is crucial in delivering an outstanding 2022 FIFA World Cup. We are thereby placing a key focus on an amazing fan and player experience in all our stadiums" (TRADE ARABIA, 5/28).

Stadium officials said that the roof collapse at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil "happened because of a mistake by a worker inspecting the roof on Sunday." They said that "part of the tarpaulin on the roof was not folded properly, leading to the accumulation of water in that section." A stadium spokesperson said, "Repairs will be concluded in time for the Confederations Cup" (London EVENING STANDARD, 5/28). ... South African Super Rugby club Sharks revealed that a new five-year multi-million rand partnership has been entered into with Growthpoint Properties Ltd.; the Stadium’s new naming rights sponsor. The stadium will now be known as Growthpoint Kings Park (Sharks).