Qatari executives shrug off 2022 Fifa World Cup bribery claims
DOHA, QATAR // Allegations of bribery might have sullied Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup – but to the emirate’s businessmen, they’re no big deal.
At least not yet.
“I’ve listened to those allegations, but I hear it with one ear and let it out with the other. I have absolute trust in our government and our Emir,” said Hadi Al Shahawani, a businessman in the transport sector.
And as he left the Qatar Exchange at the end of the trading day, one trader, who requested anonymity, said: “This is all chit-chat and there’s no real proof. When there is real proof from the Fifa, then we can talk … What is happening to the market is only a correction.”
The Qatari market was down 4.0 per cent through the first four trading days of the week, bringing its year-to-date gain down to 26.6 per cent.
Winning the World Cup has brought a construction boom to Doha. Cranes dot the skyline. The stock exchange building itself is part of a strip of new buildings in the city centre.
Yesterday’s drop of 0.5 per cent in the QE Index ranked as a relief after Tuesday’s 2.4 per cent decline.
“The trading session of [Tuesday] was quite bad,” said the broker Waleed Al Adly, speaking close to two large screens that showed falling stocks lit in red.
Of the 20 stocks in the QE Index, five gained yesterday, two were unchanged and 13 declined.
“The news will have a negative effect, but we, as Arabs, we soon forget, maybe in a week or so,” Mr Al Adly said. “However, if the news is confirmed next month this can be troublesome for the tourism, real estate, infrastructure and all the ongoing projects.”
Hosting the World Cup is of major significance for Qataris. It had become part of the country’s 30-year development plan.
Moltilo Mrvic, a Serbian power and water consultant, who has been living in Qatar since 1991 said if the allegations are true, it will affect the “Qatar brand”. However, the economy is “robust” nevertheless, he said.
“The economy is booming and the main strength in the Qatari strategy is expanding their economy away from oil.”
Follow us on Twitter @Ind_Insights
Published: June 4, 2014 04:00 AM