Gulf Countries’ Popularity As Sporting Hubs To Soar With Mega Tournaments

The pandemic has thrown several global sporting events into the realm of uncertainty. Resultantly, there is a major confusion over holding big sporting extravaganzas due to the massive spread of the virus in the respective host countries. Indian Cricket happens to be one of the casualties of the pandemic as the country lost the hosting priority of several biggies. The ultimate cricket carnivals such as the T-20 World Cup and IPL (2nd half) have been shifted to other counties due to the ongoing Covid fear. The chief beneficiaries of these postponements have been the Gulf countries, especially the UAE. With the virus threat still prevalent in India, T20 World Cup is all set to be co-hosted by the UAE and Oman and, in all likelihood, the remaining part of the IPL will also be held in the UAE. All these developments prove that the Gulf Countries are fast emerging as the next global sporting destinations.

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Hardly a new phenomenon

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Well, the Gulf countries are not alien to sporting events. Cricketing events are commonplace in the UAE with Pakistan hosting most of their home series in the emirates since 2009. Dubai recently hosted some of the finest international golfers at the Dubai Desert Classic. Another emirate Abu Dhabi has been very much instrumental in conducting the global UFC movement after organizing successful UFC Fight Island events in the pandemic-induced bio-bubbles on Yas Island. Not just UAE, even Saudi Arabia has done its bit by holding the riveting battle between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz in the world heavyweight clash in Jeddah last year. Also, the city has been included in the Formula 1 calendar for the next season. All these have made the gulf countries one of the favourable sporting destinations across the world.

Suits to the T

S Jaishankar, QATAR FIFA WORLD CUP, stadium
S. Jaishankar at the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup venue built by Indian construction major L&T | Photo tweeted by S Jaishankar

The Gulf countries with state-of-the-art infrastructure and world-class facilities and amenities are ideal to host any kind of sporting event. Though these countries have been holding sporting tournaments in the past, prestigious ones have been very few and far in between. However, with Qatar poised to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup and UAE conducting T-20 World Cup, there is a tectonic shift happening in terms of conducting mega sporting spectacles. Both these events are superior in their respective sports and hosting such events would definitely enhance the reputation of both Qatar and UAE as international sporting destinations.

Last but not the least

With the majority of the countries still grappling with the Coronavirus and the Gulf countries, especially UAE, Oman, Qatar etc, managing to contain the virus to a large extent, the prospects of more coveted sporting events coming to the Gulf countries are bright. For these oil-exporting countries that are looking to diversify into other domains, sporting events can be a perfect vista. The only hitch is the extremely hot weather in these countries, but they have a window from November to March when it is mildly cold and perfect for sporting tournaments. If these sporting events can create the magic expected of them, then the Gulf countries can emerge as favourite destinations for sporting events of significance.

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