UK companies keen on World Cup opportunities in Qatar
February 12 2014 10:55 PM

Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy delegation on a visit to Wembley Stadium.  INSET: Lambeth: Strong interest.

By Denise Marray/London

Loyalty, perseverance, optimism, stamina and willingness to travel. This is not a check list of requirements for a soldier, astronaut or travelling salesman – but are the qualities of your average British football fan. These are the BEST qualities – let’s not dwell for now on the bouts of bad behaviour and copious drinking that have on occasions blighted the image in the past.

For it was the best of British football that was shown off to the members of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy delegation, led by its Secretary General Hassan al-Thawadi, on a visit to the UK last week. And on the back of that visit which took in Wembley Stadium, the Emirates Stadium, Brighton Hove Albion Stadium and St. George’s Park, England’s new training base, a delegation of 25 UK companies will set out to Qatar this month with the aim of securing work related to the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The Trade Mission will be led by British Expertise Director, Alexander Lambeth, on behalf of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). British Expertise is a not for profit trade body which promotes professional services worldwide.

Lambeth explained that there is huge interest from British companies who see opportunities around the World Cup in Qatar. “It’s fantastic to have a trade mission coming on the back of the inward visit just last week. It’s proving very popular with our member companies,” he said.

The mission will include companies specialising in construction, architecture, logistics and public health, the management and staffing of stadiums, and the running of tournaments, including security and crowd management.

He said that British companies were interested in all aspects of the World Cup, from the cooling of stadia to the maintenance of turf “right down to the blades of grass on the pitch”.  The 2012 Olympics in London demonstrated the wide range of skills required in hosting a global sporting event. As Lambeth explained: “Our member companies have got amazing know-how on global sports projects.

They are involved in Rio and Sochi and include companies like Populous (Sports and Entertainment Architecture), Happold Consulting (Strategic Consulting in the Built Environment) and HLSP. Mott MacDonald Group (International Consulting and Project Management Services specialising in Healthcare).

The Qatari delegation looked at all design and operational aspects of Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361; Architect, Populous, Structural Engineer, Buro Happold), which is home to Arsenal F.C., and the iconic Wembley Stadium (capacity 90,000; designed by Norman Foster and Ken Shuttleworth). Wembley Stadium Consultancy supports IMG in its role as Stadium Operations Consultant to the Qatar Supreme Commitee 2022. Lambeth, who is from the coastal city of Brighton, was particularly delighted at the delegation’s visit to Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. Amex Stadium and training facility.

“The delegation was able to see our football culture and what it means to the clubs. These are major businesses and local wealth generators, but they are also a reflection of the people at the heart of the cities they represent,” he said. As regards the challenge of welcoming fans from all over the globe, he observed that the Olympics experience had proved very valuable to the UK. “The UK welcomed such a huge diversity of people from Africa, Asia and Europe to a limited geographical location,” he noted. With regard to Qatar as host, he said: “Qatar already welcomes the world – it knows how to welcome guests. It’s a question of offering an experience of the host culture while also embracing the cultures coming in.”

In relation to this month’s British Trade Mission which will take place between 22 to 24 February, he said: This trip is educational for us as well. It helps us to understand the needs of our Qatari partners and see what British companies can offer.”




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