With work continuing on stadiums and infrastructure for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, attention has turned to the legal responsibilities of hosting one of the world’s most famous sporting events.
Aspects that needed to be considered include workers’ rights and immigration, sponsorship, consumer protection, tourism, intellectual property (IP) rights, and transportation, and whether existing laws need to be amended. The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) developed a sporting event legal framework to support hosting the competition, and after referral to the Shura Council, two laws were enacted in July 2021 by The Amir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Law No 10 of 2021 regarding the Measures for Hosting FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™
This sets out Qatar’s preparations for hosting the competition. Qatar has a duty to honour the Government Guarantees and Host Contract outlined in its bid, which details the commitments between FIFA, as the owner of the competition, and Qatar, as the host nation. The law has 10 Chapters and 43 Articles:
Chapter 1: Definitions and General Provisions
The words and phrases relevant to the law.
Chapter 2: Procedures for entry into, exit from, and work in the State
Articles 4 to 7 address entry visas for foreign nationals. Entry visas shall expire at the end of the Competition Period, although FIFA or the Supreme Committee can extend them. Evidence of a work permit is not required for employees of FIFA and other specific entities, and employees will be exempted from the provisions of labour regulations currently in place in Qatar, as the provisions of the employment agreement will regulate the relationship between the parties, including working hours, salary/benefits and termination.
Competition Period: the period starting 10 days before the opening match of the competition and ending 5 days after the final match.
Chapter 3: Exemptions
As per the Government Guarantees in Qatar’s bid, the law has a number of exemptions applicable to FIFA and other specified entities, for example from the payment of certain fees relating to their operations in Qatar, and from applicable taxes and customs.
Government Guarantees: entry and exit permits, work permits, tax exemptions, safety and security, bank and foreign exchange operations, protection and exploitation of commercial rights, telecoms and IT, legal issues and indemnification, and accommodation.
Chapter 4: Safety and Security
Articles 9 to 12 state that the Security Committee and its chairman will be given the necessary power to operate the security elements of the competition and issue instructions and guidelines, as well as oversee public awareness of these rules. Government medical facilities must provide medical assistance to participants in the competition, and fans must have access to emergency medical treatment during the Competition Period.
Chapter 5: Banking and Foreign Exchange Operations
As per Article 13, no restrictions shall be imposed on the purchase and sale of Qatari and foreign currencies, and financial institutions must ensure there are simple and efficient banking processes, during the Competition Period. This includes the entry to and exit of currencies to Qatar and no restriction on the amount of currency exchanged during the Competition Period relating to US Dollars, Euros and Swiss Francs. The regulator, Qatar Central Bank, has the power to implement these exemptions prior to the beginning of the Competition Period if needed.
Chapter 6: FIFA Rights
The chapter regulates FIFA’s commercial rights for the competition: FIFA name, logo, slogan and anthem; official titles and names relating to football or other FIFA trademarks; mascots, billboards, trophies and medals; and artistic and musical works.
The law has a list of what may be considered FIFA Intellectual Property and commercial rights and states the penalties of using such IP in any way not authorised by FIFA. Should this happen, FIFA may notify the Supreme Committee, which will inform the authorities to take action. The penalties under the law are much stricter than existing IP laws in Qatar.
Hotels/other accommodation providers and tourism service providers are not permitted to offer ticket(s) with their packages without FIFA approval. Articles 19 to 22 concern the issuance, sale, resale, redistribution and trade in tickets without FIFA’s authorisation, which has not been addressed in Qatar before. FIFA does not have to obtain prior approval when processing the personal data of nationals and residents of Qatar who purchase tickets.
Article 23 allows FIFA/other specific entities subject to the Government Guarantees to establish a company in Qatar with 100% foreign capital – these will be liquidated 90 days after the end of the Competition Period, unless their status is changed or if the Council of Ministers extends the period as per a request from the Supreme Committee.
Any and all products marketed by FIFA and its associated partners will be permitted at Activities Venues and the Controlled Commercial Area prior to and during the Competition Period.
Activities Venues: any buildings, structures or areas used for carrying out events, matches or other activities related to the competition.
Controlled Commercial Area: an area adjacent to the Stadium or Activities Venue specified by FIFA with a maximum radius of 2 km, including airspace, where commercial or other activities are banned on match day and the day preceding it. Only FIFA and its delegates can sell in the Commercial Restriction Area or existing businesses that fall within its radius.
Chapter 7: Broadcasting and Advertising
The FIFA Host Broadcaster will be responsible for any and all content produced or transferred. Unless authorised by FIFA, no advertising or promotion can be performed in the Activities Venue or Controlled Commercial Area during the Competition Period and the period starting from two days before the date of the preliminary draw or the final draw until the day after the closing date of the draw ceremony. Existing businesses within the Activities Venue or Controlled Commercial Area may continue its operations unless FIFA states otherwise.
FIFA advertisements during the Competition Period will be regulated under the law, with no advertising or promotion in the Activities Venue or the Commercial Restriction Area during the Competition Period and the period starting two days prior to the date of the preliminary or final draw ceremonies until the day following the end of the draw ceremonies, unless authorised by FIFA or its delegate.
Due to exemptions in Law No 7 of 2019 on the Protection of the Arabic language and Law No 1 of 2021 regarding the Regulation and Control of the Placement of Advertising, FIFA does not need to apply for a permit from the relevant municipality where the ad is to be placed, and instead apply to the Supreme Committee; ads can be in the English language (not both English and Arabic).
Chapter 8: Transportation
Security officers, holders of a FIFA/Supreme Committee ID and fans will be able to use free public transportation (buses and the metro) in the Competition Period.
Chapter 9: Volunteers
FIFA and the Supreme Committee can use volunteers without obtaining a work permit, with foreign volunteers given entry visas for single or multiple visits that will expire at the end of the Competition Period. Volunteers will also be exempted from any taxes related to their volunteer work.
Chapter 10: Sanctions and Penalties
This chapter outlines the penalties to be imposed for offences committed in violation of specific articles of the law.
Law No 11 of 2021 on the Protection of Trademarks, Copyright and Related Rights of the International Football Association (FIFA)
The 12 Articles offer protection for FIFA’s Intellectual Property rights by making the registration of material easier at the IP Rights or Copyright and Related Rights Protection Departments at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Articles 3 to 6 provide specific timings for the application, decision, registration or appeal of any application.
Article 7 states that FIFA’s trademarks are well known and protected under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, which Qatar is a member of. Article 10 provides that FIFA is exempted from registration fees of its trademarks, works, audio recordings, performer’s rights, and broadcasts.
For any matter not covered under this FIFA IP law, Law No 7 of 2002 on the Protection of Copyright and Related Rights and Law No 9 of 2002 on Trademarks, Commercial Data, Trade Names, Geographical Indications and Industrial Designs,
Note: These are unofficial translations of the laws, taken from the Arabic versions issued in the Official Gazette.
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Author: Sarah Palmer
This feature is from Marhaba’s WINTER 2021/22 Issue – M82.
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