British firms are signing £1.5bn worth of contracts with Qatar for work on the next World Cup – more than ten times what they made at the tournament in Brazil four years ago.
The huge trade bonanza was announced by the government on the back of deals with Doha to build new stadiums, cut the grass and provide pitch-side security guards.
The Department for International Trade said UK companies have already signed deals for £940mn in the Qatar and a further £500mn is lined up before the tournament kicks off in 2022.
This compares with just £150mn worth of trade which British firms made in Brazil around the World Cup there in 2014 – where UK firm Blue Cube provided the seating in the stadiums.
The World Cup deals between Britain and Qatar are part of a rise in trade between the two countries which totalled £3.39bn in 2017, an increase of 70% over the last five years.
In a post-Brexit world, good trade relations between the UK and the Middle East will be of great importance.
Minister for International Trade George Hollingbery visited Qatar this week for the second meeting of the Joint Ministerial Economic Commercial and Technical Committee.
He said: “With our football teams enjoying success this summer and fantastic support coming from all four nations, it’s great to see British business winning contracts and making these fantastic events the spectacle they are.
“Our world class construction companies have some of the best safety records in the world and they will play an important role in delivering a safe and successful World Cup.
“If our nations have as much success in Qatar 2022 as UK businesses are having supporting it, we are in for another great tournament.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May had talks with His Highness the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at Downing Street in July, during which they discussed how the UK could help deliver the World Cup.
The Football Association has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Doha, which involve football development projects and friendlies to help the British teams acclimatise to the heat in the run-up to 2022.
The DIT is also targeting the 2019 Pan American and Para-Pan Games, the Rugby World Cup 2019 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics as further opportunities for UK business if, as expected, the UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019.
© Gulf Times Newspaper 2019