Several of the UK’s top horse trainers are collectively owed more than £1 million ($1.3m) in fees from Al Shaqab, the Qatar Foundation’s equestrian empire run by the brother of Qatar’s Emir, according to a report in The Times.
According to the newspaper, in some cases arrears date back to over six months.
“I don’t know why we have not been paid. But they [Qatar] have just bought 24 fighter jets for several billion pounds so I am sure they could afford to pay us,” an unnamed trainer is quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Al Shaqab was founded in 1992 by Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the father of current Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The Times notes that another trainer was forced to send back the horses he trained for Al Shaqab, while a third had to take out a bank loan amid a “fire sale” of horses. French trainers and suppliers have also been affected by the late payments.
“They are notoriously slow payers but now the situation is getting ridiculous,” another trainer told the newspaper. “I don’t think for one minute we are not going to be paid, but they seem to be badly organised and we are at the bottom of their list of priorities.”
“Some trainers will not be able to stand it,” he added.
From January 1, invoicing was changed and bills will be processed through France, which is where Al Shaqab’s focus is expected to be going forward.
On Monday, an e-mail was reportedly sent by Al Shaqab apologising for delays and promising payment.
The Times report also quotes Khalifa Al Attiyah, Al Shaqab’s General Manager in Qatar, as saying that the payment delays were caused by “a longer financial review” and that Al Shaqab is “is in the middle of restructuring the whole organisation.”
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