The Soccerex Asian Forum drew to a close last week, with delegates returning home to reflect on two busy days of networking, business conversations and insight on Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the development of the Asian football industry. They can also look forward to further opportunities in 2017 following the confirmation that the Asian Forum will return to Doha on December 4/5, 2017.
The inaugural Soccerex event in Qatar was hosted with the support of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and drew 738 senior figures from the football community with 44 different countries represented. Though the audience was global, the focus of the Forum was distinctly Asian – as reflected by the 70/30 ratio of Asian attendees compared to the rest of the world – and delegates heard from senior figures from Qatari, Indian, UAE, Saudi Arabian and Jordanian football authorities about their respective event plans.
Other event highlights included an exclusive presentation from David Dein on the future of football, and an interview with former Spain international Xavi Hernandez – the ambassador for the SC’s flagship CSR programme Generation Amazing. Delegates were also treated to an update from LaLiga on their international growth plans, including their new partnership with Microsoft and a panel discussion on bringing football events to the world featuring Serie A CEO Marco Brunelli who talked about hosting the SuperCoppa Italiana in Qatar on December 23.
The exhibition floor at the Forum allowed 32 companies to showcase their organisations, including LaLiga, Serie A and the UK Department of Trade & Industry and networking was further enhanced by a social evening in the beautiful grounds of the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
The Forum, taking place at the halfway stage in Qatar’s preparation, was the extension of a long and positive relationship between Soccerex and the SC which dates back to the early stages of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup bid.
During an emotional opening ceremony – the first since Soccerex founder Duncan Revie’s passing – SC Secretary General, Hassan Al Thawadi spoke of their – journey with Soccerex, “Our own experience with Soccerex began at the end of 2009 in Johannesburg, seven months ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and a year before the decision on awarding the hosting rights for 2018 and 2022. The event brought together all the bidding nations, providing an opportunity to showcase the details of the bid to an influential audience. We learned the benefit of attending Soccerex, and have returned repeatedly to the convention in many different parts of the world. It is an important vehicle for hearing the latest developments in the industry, expanding your networks and working to enhance existing relationships.”
The expansion of Soccerex into Qatar marked the company’s 40th event and made Doha the 16th different city to host a Soccerex event. Doha looks set to be a key destination in Soccerex’s future with the Asian Forum 2017 confirmed for Qatar.