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Neymar: “coup de com” for Qatar and nose to his opponents

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – HECTOR RETAMAL – | Neymar Jr, during a commercial operation in Miami, July 28, 2017

By piloting the very likely arrival of Brazilian footballer Neymar in Paris Saint-Germain, Qatar is a nose to his Arab opponents who tried to isolate him for two months and increases his global visibility, his “soft power”, via Sports, experts say.

“The transfer (announced) of Neymar to the PSG (owned by Qatar) was piloted in high places in Qatar and was used mainly to deploy a communication strategy that obscures the continuing debate on any other issue, Terrorism, “judge Mathieu Guidère, professor of Arab geopolitics in Paris.

“This has diverted attention and focused on a consensual theme, sport,” he adds.

According to Andreas Krieg, associate analyst at King’s College London, Neymar’s imminent transfer “sends a very strong signal (from Qatar) to the world of sport” and is a “challenge” to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

On June 5, Bahrain and Egypt broke off their diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed economic sanctions on them, accusing it of linking up with extremist groups and not taking enough distance Iran.

This was followed by a daily campaign to isolate Doha from the Arab stage and beyond. For its part, Qatar rejected all accusations, saying its opponents were trying to put its foreign policy “under guardianship.”

– ‘Soft power’ –

Small but very rich emirate gas, Qatar (2.6 million inhabitants) has played a growing role for several decades in several conflicts and sensitive files of the Arab world.

But it has also developed a strategy of influence through gigantic international investments in real estate, hotels, industry, air transport, finance, media and sport.

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – KARIM JAAFAR – | Qataris write messages of support to their emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to protest the crisis with his neighbors in Doha on 6 July 2017

The main symbols of this “soft power” are the television stations Al-Jazeera and BeIn Sports, not to mention Qatar Airways which until last season was the sponsor of the jersey of FC Barcelona.

Qatar is also preparing to organize the World Cup in 2022, despite countless polemics.

In a speech on 21 July, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, himself stressed the need to develop “+ soft power + at the international level” with the participation of “the best national expertise, Arab and foreign “.

The arrival of Neymar to the PSG undeniably constitutes a “coup de com” for Qatar at a particularly delicate moment for him, experts say.

“For the time being, the opponents of Qatar are paralyzed by this strategy of bypass because none of them has a lever of communication so powerful in the field of international sport,” explains Guidere.

“For several days now, nobody has spoken more about the negative image, but only about the transfer of Neymar.” In the West, the idea of ​​sport prevails over the rest. “It is clear that sport serves to break the isolation Policy of Qatar “.

– ‘Any price’ –

According to Krieg, Neymar is “a soft power shot”, while Qatar “must demonstrate to the world now that it is robust” and that despite the accusations it is “the most resilient country in the Middle- East”.

“It has the most stable economy and financial situation”, unlike its Arab opponents, with a reservation: “there must be no disruption of LNG exports” (liquefied natural gas), of which it is the world’s largest exporter , Said the expert.

Ⓒ AFP – Laurence SAUBADU – | What is the price for Neymar?

For him, “having the best player (football) shows the rest of the world that if Qatar is determined,” he has unlimited means in which he can draw for this purpose and to promote his interests.

“They wanted this player and they used the money to buy it at any price,” Krieg concludes.

If Neymar formalizes his arrival at the PSG, the amount of the release clause of FC Barcelona is 222 million euros, a new record in terms of transfers.

Since the beginning of the crisis with its Arab opponents, Qatar has sought to show that it continues to do business with Westerners. Two major contracts were announced, the first with the United States for the acquisition of F-15 combat aircraft (about 11 billion euros), the second with Italy (seven warships worth five billion euros).

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