If world soccer’s transfer record is obliterated by Neymar’s move to Paris Saint-Germain, it will be a coup for the French club — and the tiny energy-rich emirate of Qatar. While a footnote in monetary terms in Qatar’s wider investment portfolio, the immensely wealthy 2022 World Cup host nation has long used sports as a way to elevate its stature. Signing one of the most recognizable and marketable figures in the sports world would be an extravagant demonstration of that.
“They are trying to literally score a point here,” said Christopher Davidson, who teaches Middle East politics at Durham University in northeast England. “It sounds like a lot of money but given the stakes are hundreds of billions of dollars because of the World Cup, Neymar will be seen as a sound investment by Qatar.
Soccer stars have not been deterred from flying into Doha, helping to give the impression that the desert nation is weathering the boycott. Qatari officials have made a point of saying that the vast construction project for the World Cup has been unaffected by the blockade. But they have acknowledged that import costs overall have risen dramatically for items such as food and medicine, which now need to be flown in or shipped by sea from points further afield.
Source Credit: The Washington Post
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