What’s four stadiums amongst friends?
Qatar has announced that it will be dropping its projected number of stadiums for the 2022 World Cup from 12 to 8, the latest in a long series of decisions that have some soccer fans shaking their heads.
Brazil is scheduled to use 12 this summer and Germany used the same figure in 2006, though only 10 South African venues hosted matches in 2010.
According to a Bloomberg report, Ghanim Al Kuwari, the Qatar organizing committee’s senior manager for projects, announced the downgrade today without giving a reason.
Qatar, which holds the world’s third-largest natural-gas reserves, plans to spend more than $200 billion on new infrastructure before hosting the sporting event, including $34 billion on a rail and metro system, $7 billion on a port and $17 billion on an airport. The stadiums will cost $4 billion, according to the ministry of business and trade.
“Their decision was motivated by cost-cutting following an assessment of the real needs on the ground,” John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at investment company MASIC in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, said in an e-mail. “It does always make good sense to do necessary cost-cutting and reviews of capex for such huge projects that are front-loaded.”
MLSSoccer.com reports that the last time a World Cup was played at eight or less venues was in Argentina for the 1978 tournament.
Critics of the tournament in Qatar have included MLS commissioner Don Garber amongst others. And there have been seemingly myriad accusations of bribery and other fiscal foul play regarding the tournament being given to the oil-rich nation in the first place. All that without mentioning the stories of awful employee conditions and deaths in construction. When headlines include “4000 migrant workers could be worked to death,” well…