Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF), the world-renowned sports city, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), one of the world's leading and fastest growing onshore business and financial centres, paving the way for the two organisations to establish 'Qatar's Sports Business District' (QSBD). The new national project aims to create the premier sports business cluster in Qatar and the Middle East.
The MoU was signed on Wednesday by Mr. Mohammed Khalifa Al-Suwaidi, Chief Executive Officer of AZF, and Mr. Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Financial Centre.
The MoU will see the QFC and AZF collaborate on numerous initiatives aimed at developing and promoting this industry, as well as an all-inclusive Sports Business District. The initiative is the first of its kind in the region. Its goal is to attract large sports-related multinationals, promote the setup of sustainable businesses and startups and facilitate the commercialisation of sports-related products and services by offering unique incentives and service packages, which include QFC designated locations in the Sports Business District.
Commenting on the agreement, Mr. Mohammed Khalifa Al-Suwaidi, Chief Executive Officer of AZF, said: "The establishment of the new QSBD is another example of AZF's significant contribution to help diversify Qatar's economy and transform the country into a favourable business destination for multiple sports related industries. This collaboration with QFC will see the creation of a 'sports business cluster', the first-of- its-kind in Qatar and the wider region, combining renowned local and international brands and under one roof.
Al-Suwaidi added: "This new initiative will support Qatar's National Vision 2030 and Aspire's long-time mission of diversifying the country's economy by positioning Qatar as a regional sporting hub".
Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority, said: "We are very honoured to partner with AZF to support with the development of an extensive framework for the continued growth of Qatar's thriving sports cluster. By attracting local and international businesses in sports, our mandate continues to focus on boosting foreign direct investment into the country, thereby supporting its progress towards self-sufficiency."
Al-Jaida added: "The estimated size of the global sports industry surpassed the US$1 trillion mark in 2017, so there are clearly many opportunities and sizeable potential for investments that we wish to fully utilise through this collaborative partnership."
Furthermore, the QFC will facilitate and enhance services provided to companies wishing to build on its platform, including simplifying the process for incorporation and offering post-licensing support. This partnership will see a number of other initiatives that focus on the long-term development and sustainability of a robust and highly competitive sports industry in Qatar, while positioning the country as one of the world's most dynamic sports hubs.
Qatar's well-established sports sector is expected to reach US $20 billion by 2023. This growth comes as momentum continues to build in the lead up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ and beyond, as the country boasts a US$ 200 billion investment programme to develop world-class facilities and services.
Although Qatar's sports business development sector has witnessed a significant growth in the past few years, entrepreneurs and investors are facing a number of challenges to start-up development. This collaboration between AZF and the QFC will orchestrate efforts aimed at attracting large sports-related multinational corporations and will promote the setup of sustainable businesses to facilitate the commercialisation of sports-related products and services in Qatar.
The QFC is an onshore jurisdiction, allowing companies to operate in and from Qatar within the QFC legal and tax environment. QFC firms enjoy competitive benefits, such as working within a legal environment based on English common law, the right to trade in any currency, up to 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits, and an extensive double tax treaty agreement network with 60+ countries.