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What they are saying on l’Equipe21 of the effect of the Qatar situation on football

 

By Tony Attwood

You may have noticed that following my commentary about recent events in Qatar a number of Manchester City supporters came to the site and offered their opinions, some of which we published.

It is interesting that just as when Untold did its expose of what was about to happen over FFP, we had a similar reaction, with the correspondents telling us that the Untold position was a complete fantasy.  On that occasion, it turned out we were right – and we were one of very few publishers that saw where this was going.

Of course, being right once doesn’t mean we will get it right again; obviously not.  And maybe those arguing against us are this times the ones who are right.  But Untold’s regular Swiss correspondent has supplied a report on a program on the TV channel l’Equipe21 yesterday, which (unlike the media in the UK) also looked at the footballing implications of the situation in Qatar and the surrounding countries.

At the heart of the programme there was an expectation that the Qatar situation would indeed have an impact on football, and it could have a very significant impact on football.  Much of their focus was naturally on PSG but the implications went way beyond.  

Qatar Sports Investments bought PSG in 2011 and 2012 making PSG the richest club in France and eventually the sixth highest revenue club in the world, and the 13th most valuable club in world football.  

There was also an agreement with the Qatar Tourism Authority which although signed in 2013 was then back-dated to 2012, (how can sponsorship be backdated?) then increased incrementally on a year-by-year basis to the extent that it will be worth the €200m figure by 2016

Separately, the PSG shirt sponsor became the Emirates, and given that Dubai is participating in the blockade it was argued that there must be a concern that the huge amount of money flowing from the Emirates into football in general and into PSG in particular might not keep going.

Indeed it was also stated that Qatar has invested 12 billion dollars in France alone.

The view being expressed on the TV programme was that all the current contracts are now in danger, and replacing the Emirates deal quickly with Qatar Airways seems to be impossible -as it would be clear that it was just the owner giving money to the club, rather than coming through a viable commercial sponsor.

There was also commentary from the author of a book on the ’emirs’ who mentioned that the British press seemed very reluctant to publish information about corruption for the 2022 World Cup, and why this was so.   There was also discussion about the fact that beINsports were involved and the possible loss of TV rights.

BeINSports is part of the Al Jazeera network which operates in Spain, France, North America and the Far East and Australia.  Al Jazeera is funded by the Qatar state.

The station’s prime football presenter is the disgraced Richard Keys, who aside from having prehistoric views on women found himself in October 2016 in further difficulty when Julia Keys began divorce proceedings after it was revealed that her 60 year old husband had been having an affair with a 27-year-old woman.    Not something that we normally bother to mention on Untold, but since sexism seems to be central to Mr Keys’ life and work, it has a relevance.

The view on l’Equipe21 was that Qatar’s official policy of sports diplomacy (ranging from buying PSG through to running BeINSports and of course holding the Fifa World Cup and other links), has failed dramatically and they may have to review their financial priorities and ‘protect’ their country not via sports but via weapons…  

This of course is probably good news for the UK who could end up selling weapons to both sides in any subsequent war (already being a major supplier of Saudi Arabia of course).   But back at the heart of the problem is that Saudi Arabia has now been accusing Qatar of financing terrorism.

As a result the commentators have not been taking it for granted that Qatar will be considered a French ally, as their foray into France was an initiative from ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy.  The new President Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron (also co prince of Andorra, as I have just realised) is not at all interested in such an arrangement it seems.

There is a further problem with Qatar which was raised in the programme, in that the allegation being made against Qatar by its Arab neighbours is that Qatar is the hub of financial sponsorship for the terrorism which has been focused of late on the UK.  That raises the question of the morality of a Premier League club being financed by people who are close to those who are financing the Terror.  

This is aside from the fact that it was reported that within Qatar there is a feeling that the investments in football of hundreds of millions of pounds over a number of years has not brought the prize that was expected in each case: the Champions League and the glory of the World Cup (given that the main thing we hear about the World Cup is the use of slave labour to build the stadia).

The story continues.

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16 comments to What they are saying on l’Equipe21 of the effect of the Qatar situation on football

  • M18CTID

    Tony, I’m not sure why you’re making a supposed link between City’s owner and alleged Qatari financing of terrorism. Have a read of this mate: http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN18Y0DH That’s the UAE announcing 500,000 fines (roughly £100k) and 15 year prison sentences for any residents expressing sympathy with Qatar on social media. One of the people behind this seemingly draconian measure is City’s owner’s brother. I happen to think that all this is pretty distasteful even if our owner’s country is pitching up against Qatar because I’m not sure how Saudi Arabia can lecture any country on accusations of financing terrorism but that could well be a smokescreen as it appears this may be an attempt to stitch Qatar up for their pro-Iranian stance.

  • M18CTID

    “That raises the question of the morality of a Premier League club being financed by people who are close to those who are financing the Terror.”

    Arsenal?
    City?
    Or both?

  • The link I was trying to set out in my normal clumsy manner is one that relates to the destabilisation of the region, given that Qatar clearly cannot sit back and let the blockade happen. In a destabilised region commercial airlines tend to have a hard time of it. Further at such a time it is possible that Qatar will re-evaluate its policy of sport diplomacy. If that happens then the value of clubs generally sinks because there is one very major player suddenly out of the market. Further a combination of such factors in the world of marketing, where all services are only worth what you can get from them, rather than from any intrinsic value such as the cost of manufacture, generally leads to a significant decline in value. Add to this that in marketing a lot of value comes from the perception of others, then there is a danger that if people consider Qatar a declining market, then they will consider those with whom Qatar is at war, a declining market. Add to this the fact that Iran seems ready to step in to help Qatar, the region could be thrown into a crisis for at least several months. If a week is a long time in politics, half an hour is a long time in marketing.

  • M18CTID

    Thanks for clarifying. It did appear you were trying to make some link between City’s owner, his native country, and Qatar’s alleged funding of terrorism.

  • Leon

    “That raises the question of the morality of a Premier League club being financed by people who are close to those who are financing the Terror.”

    Arsenal?
    City?
    Or both?

    I wouldn’t say either. So who do you think it might be?
    I’m sure Tony has some club in mind though.

  • M18CTID

    My bad. I must have been mistaken when I thought that Arsenal’s main sponsor isn’t based in Dubai and whose owner isn’t related to City’s.

  • The_Ledge

    How we remain “friends” with some of these despots, is beyond me. Still, we have a PM who believes that taking away all of our Human Rights, somehow works against Extremists who want to disrupt our “democratic” way of life. It’s “speaking with fork tongue” at it’s most contradictory.

    I’m more concerned with how a leading newspaper in this country, gets away with inferring that all Arsenal supporters are terrorists!

    That’s more of a serious problem to me than the possibility of clubs going bust because they are owned by some shady characters.

  • M18CTID

    The Ledge,

    “I’m more concerned with how a leading newspaper in this country, gets away with inferring that all Arsenal supporters are terrorists!”

    Absolutely mate and I applaud all of you who are campaigning for your club to ban that gutter rag. Liverpool fans had it right when boycotting it all those years ago and the “Total Eclipse Of The S*n” campaign is gathering plenty of traction of late due to that rag’s despicable reporting of both the Manchester and London terrorist attacks.

  • Flares

    “How we remain “friends” with some of these despots, is beyond me”

    Weapons for oil.

    Have a nice day.

  • Life is so confusing M18 especially when dealing with people who are unhappy at who sponsors their own club.

  • M18CTID

    Tony,

    That’s quite enlightening. I didn’t realise there were Arsenal fans who are unhappy with having Emirates as a sponsor.

  • Well M18, do remember I’m pretty much on the wild and whacky fringes of reality – I know that because I’m told it daily on the blog – especially in the vast array of comments we don’t publish each day. So just cos I write something most certainly doesn’t mean its true. And in relation to your other comment, I would not like it thought that I am a regular confidant of Mr Gazidis, and certainly not in a position to ask him questions other than within my very specialist area in relation to Arsenal. No, if you want to know what Arsenal fans think… actually I am not sure where you should go, now I come to think of it. A rather diverse bunch I find. Maybe that’s why we get such a big audience.

  • finsbury

    Sponsons and owners what’s the difference?

    For the love of football does anyone have a dictionary?

  • finsbury

    One would’ve hoped that people writing comments on the internet would have access to a dictionary?

    Alas it appears that in some cases that would be raising the bar too high.

  • Leon

    The wonderful irony of the spelling police not being much of a speller themselves.
    Dear, dear, dear.

  • finsbury

    Spelling and meaning are not the same thing or the same word.

    Too much for Liar to acknowledge not when they can fail to Troll. Yet again.

    Amazing consistency of failure on display here. Looks like we’ve found ourselves one of Life’s Winners failing to troll someone else’s blog LOL