Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

Fifa signs World Cup sponsorship deal with Qatar firm amid bribery case

Qatar-based GWC Logistics firm given second deal within a year

Construction work under way at a World Cup 2022 stadium in Doha, Qatar. Getty
Construction work under way at a World Cup 2022 stadium in Doha, Qatar. Getty

One of the first regional sponsorship deals for the next World Cup has been agreed by Fifa with a Qatari firm.

The announcement comes as the TV rights bribery scandal engulfing football’s governing body and Qatar’s beIN Media Group enters its final days.

Qatar-based GWC Logistics has been named as Fifa’s first new World Cup regional sponsor.

GWC will be a third-tier “regional” sponsor in the new category of logistics provider, Fifa said in a statement.

As part of the role it will be the key operational supplier of logistics solutions for the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022.

The same firm was also named as a the National Supporter and Official Logistics Provider for Fifa’s Club World Cup last December.

The value of a single-tournament deal for the 2022 edition in Qatar was not disclosed.

However, in the previous four-year commercial cycle, tied to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Fifa banked more than $150 million in total from third-tier sponsors.

A further $80 million was booked as “value-in-kind” for services received from sponsors.

GWC (Gulf Warehousing Company) specialises in transport and logistics for industry sectors including oil and gas, sports events and fine art.

GWC Chairman Sheik Abdulla bin Fahad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani described the firm as a “trusted player” in the World Cup.

“Today marks a landmark achievement in the history of GWC as we are entrusted to deliver the logistical requirements for the Fifa World Cup 2022, and today we become a trusted player in the journey towards 2022, proudly doing our part in actualising another milestone of Qatar’s vision,” he said.

“We enter this agreement with confidence that we will showcase the world-class sporting and logistics infrastructure that Qatar has developed over the years, while embodying the values of sportsmanship and encouraging active engagement of football enthusiasts and wider audiences.”

It becomes Fifa’s 10th 2022 World Cup sponsor and first in the third-tier category.

“Logistics are critical to an event as large and complex as the Fifa World Cup, so having GWC on board as a regional supporter and the official logistics provider for the tournament will provide Fifa and its commercial affiliates with crucial support and expertise in logistics and supply chain management, which will ensure a smooth and efficient delivery of the competition,” Fifa’s Chief Commercial Officer Simon Thomas said.

Fifa has sold 20 of the 34 available sponsor slots in its 2018 World Cup commercial plan.

Each of Fifa’s new World Cup sponsors since the 2014 tournament in Brazil has been from China, Qatar or Russia except for one tourism promotion deal with Egypt’s government.

Fifa member federations approved a revised budget through to 2022 last week.

It has forecast the coronavirus pandemic will cause a $120 million drop in income to $6.44 billion over four years.

The announcement comes as prosecutors in the Fifa TV rights bribery scandal in Switzerland called for jail terms for those involved.

Chairman of Qatar's beIN Media Group, Nasser Al Khelaifi, and Fifa’s disgraced former secretary general Jerome Valcke.are on trial over the awarding of television rights to future World Cups.

It is alleged Mr Valcke received exclusive use of a villa belonging to Mr Al Khelaifi in Sardinia for 18 months without having to pay a total rent of up to €1.8 million (Dh7.84m).

On Tuesday, prosecutors asked the federal court to give Mr Al Khelaifi a 28-month sentence and Mr Valcke three-years if convicted.

Both men deny the charges.

Updated: September 22, 2020 10:00 PM

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