Global Winds, Soft Power and Sport in Qatar

Paul Widdop Renan Petersen-Wagner Alex Bond Leeds Beckett University

There has been a significant shift in the global centrality of power in world sport. Where once, America and Western Europe almost held an oligopoly position on decision making in world sport, in recent times emergent nations have looked to create parity in this order. Indeed, Russia, China, Brazil and most recently the MENA region especially Qatar, have invested significant capital into the coffers of sport administrations and sporting institutions accelerating a global shift in power. However, at play here is not simply to generate balance in power, these emerging countries, as those in the west continue to do, are using sport as a geopolitical tool, a form of soft power. In this case study we explore Qatar’s use of soft power through sport in the backdrop of these global shifts in power.