Qatar 2022: Ready Already?

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

The Russian World Cup 2018 is now over: for us here at EuroSavant, roughly four weeks of studious effort to ignore what was going on there, with periodic postings of tweets seeking to remind people what a propaganda victory this represented for Putin. Next up, in World Cup terms, is Qatar in 2022. According to the site, le Qatar est déjà prêt: “Qatar is ready already” (much more gracefully expressed in French, of course):

I guess almost limitless funds, together with a largely formless homeland with few distinctive terrain features, can be useful for efficiently driving such a massive construction project to completion (not to mention the, er, “forced labor” as Amnesty International puts it). Still, that headline is misleading: from the article itself it becomes clear that Qatar is not yet ready to run a World Cup-size football tournament, although its progress is likely more advanced at this stage than any other host has achieved.

The biggest stadium, Khalifa International Stadium, situated in the capital Doha, is now ready to host opening and closing ceremonies together with key games such as the Final. Indeed, in October of 2019 it is scheduled to host the world track & field championships. But that’s about it: Work remains ongoing on the remaining seven, as well as on the subway/metro system which is the country’s first such installation, being purpose-built for the occasion.

(Indeed, in Qatar you get where you need to go by car: highways are plentiful, gas is cheap, and the inside is air-conditioned. If you don’t have the means to do that, then you don’t count. Obviously, that attitude cannot apply to the thousands, even millions, of football fans that mini-state hopes to attract in late 2022 – but who will take the metro afterwards, when they are not used to doing so now?)

How Much Is That in Real Money?

In money terms, writer Emmanuel Cugny calculates that Qatar will ultimately spend the equivalent of around €100 billion on World Cup 2020. That aforementioned subway system alone will cost around €31 billion. Plus, it says here that the authorities promise to have available 1.5 million hotel rooms (versus the normal FIFA requirement of 60,000); this presumably means some level of private infrastructural spending as well. And as Cugny takes care to note, this massive effort is all the more impressive considering it is taking place against what is supposed to be an economic embargo, now nearly 14 months old, against Qatar by its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council states.


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