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Qatar evaluations investments in London after advert ban on buses and Tube

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Qatar has launched a evaluation of its investments in London after the town’s transport authority this week banned the Gulf state’s ads on the UK capital’s buses, taxis and underground practice system.

The transfer by Transport for London was prompted by considerations about Qatar’s stance on LGBT+ rights and its remedy of migrant staff. It has infuriated Doha, which has develop into more and more angered by criticism aimed toward it as host of the soccer World Cup.

In 2019, London mayor Sadiq Khan requested TfL to “evaluation the way it treats promoting and sponsorship from international locations with anti-LGBT+ legal guidelines”. This led to a suspension of latest adverts from 11 international locations together with Qatar, Pakistan, Brunei and Saudi Arabia.

TfL on Friday admitted that “some” Qatar adverts had run on the community since then. But it surely has moved to a complete ban following an outcry this week, when European groups on the World Cup in Qatar have been prevented from sporting armbands in assist of LGBT+ rights.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan at London Pride in 2019
London Mayor Sadiq Khan at London Pleasure in 2019 © Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty Pictures

Qatar’s workforce on Friday turned the primary workforce to crash out of the match, having performed simply two matches.

The particular person concerned within the Qatari evaluation of London investments mentioned TfL, which is chaired by Khan, contacted Q22, the physique overseeing the World Cup, and Qatar’s tourism authority this week to tell them concerning the ban.

In response, Qatar was “reviewing their present and future investments” in London and was “contemplating funding alternatives in different UK cities and residential nations,” mentioned the particular person concerned within the evaluation.

The TfL ban “has been interpreted as a message from the mayor’s workplace that Qatari enterprise just isn’t welcome in London”, the particular person added.

It’s unclear what impression the evaluation may need on Qatar’s London investments. Over the previous twenty years it has develop into certainly one of greatest traders in London via its $450bn sovereign wealth fund. The Qatar Funding Authority owns Harrods, the division retailer, the enduring Shard constructing and is a co-owner of Canary Wharf. The Gulf state additionally owns Chelsea Barracks, the Savoy and Grosvenor Home resorts, and a 20 per cent stake in Heathrow airport.

An England fan wearing a rainbow shirt sits in the stands prior to the start of the World Cup group B soccer match between England and Iran
An England fan sporting a rainbow shirt sits within the stands previous to the beginning of the World Cup group B soccer match between England and Iran © Abbie Parr/AP

In Might, the gas-rich Gulf state pledged to take a position £10bn over 5 years within the UK via the QIA, together with within the expertise, healthcare, infrastructure and clear power sectors.

A spokesperson for Khan mentioned the Labour mayor was not concerned in day-to-day selections relating to promoting on the town’s transport community. A TfL spokesperson mentioned it had supplied “promoting companions and types with additional steerage” on acceptable promoting through the World Cup.

Qatar’s media workplace and the QIA declined to remark. However the particular person concerned within the Qatar evaluation mentioned Doha thought-about the TfL ban “one other blatant instance of double requirements and advantage signalling to attain low-cost political factors across the Qatar World Cup”.

“TfL accepts promoting from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and has a number of industrial pursuits in China, however there isn’t a suggestion that these agreements will probably be pulled,” the particular person mentioned.

Qatri emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani with Fifa President Gianni Infantino
Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani with Fifa President Gianni Infantino © Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Pictures

They added that the dispute wouldn’t have an effect on Qatar’s relationship with the Conservative-led UK authorities.

The UK has been looking for to safe longer-term gasoline provides from Qatar within the wake of the power disaster triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Qatar, the world’s prime exporter of liquefied pure gasoline, is already an necessary power provider to the UK.

Qatar had launched a tourism promoting drive within the UK within the lead as much as the World Cup, with a give attention to London, because it seeks to make use of the match to advertise the nation.

The German team covered their mouths ahead of the match against Japan
The German workforce coated their mouths forward of the match in opposition to Japan © Ricardo Mazalan/AP

Qatar leaders have develop into more and more open of their push again in opposition to the criticism, notably from European politicians and soccer associations, because it has intensified within the lead as much as the match.

Final month, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir, raged in opposition to what he mentioned was an “unprecedented marketing campaign” in opposition to Qatar.

He mentioned it included “fabrications and double requirements that have been so ferocious that it has sadly prompted many individuals to query the actual causes and motives behind the marketing campaign”.

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