Qatar becomes the most expensive World Cup Host Nation(Here’s why)

In 2010, FIFA announced that the world’s largest football spectacle would evolve from the Middle-Eastern soil for the first time.

Since then, the 2022 World Cup has been in a mired controversy.

From bribery allegations and human rights abuses, the tournament has given the chance to criticise FIFA for rewarding such unlawful behaivior.

Qatar named its bid to FIFA as a “bold gamble” to bring world football to the Gulf nation.

A bit earlier, in 2008, Qatar had announced its Qatar National Vision project, which targeted to build the country into an “advanced society capable of sustaining its development and providing a high standard of living for its people.”

One of the main foundations for this future would be sports.

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From there, the country made successful bids to host both the 2011 AFC Asian Cup and Arab Games. It also made its presence felt in European football.

Qatar Airways paid $163 million to sponsor FC Barcelona’s kits in 2010, and direct investments in Paris Saint-Germain through the Qatari Travel Authority totaled over $1.08 billion.

Bribery Allegations

However, once the dust settled around Qatar’s World Cup bid, allegations of financial foul play drive-through  thereafter.

  • 2011: Former FIFA Vice President, Jack Warner made public emails that claimed Qatar (specifically AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam) had “bought” the rights to win the bid.
  • 2014: The Sunday Times reported that Mohamed Bin Hammam made payment totaling $5 million to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid.
  • 2019: The Sunday Times reported that FIFA would receive an alleged $880 million in two installment payments from Al Jazeera pending a successful bid.
  • 2020: The U.S. Department of Justice formally accused three South American officials of receiving bribes to ensure votes for Qatar.

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In 2014, FIFA, then run by Sepp Blatter, cleared Qatar of the alleged wrongdoings.

But in 2015, Blatter resigned from his position amid a formal criminal investigation by Swiss officials into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.

Here’s what World Cup costs have looked like since the U.S. hosted in 1994:

  • United States 1994: $500 million
  • France 1998: $2.3 billion
  • Japan 2002: $7 billion
  • Germany 2006: $4.3 billion
  • South Africa 2010: $3.6 billion
  • Brazil 2014: $15 billion
  • Russia 2018: $11.6 billion
  • Qatar 2022: $220 billion

Costs associated with Qatar’s new stadiums have been reported to range within $6.5 billion to $10 billion(a significant increase from the proposed $4 billion in the initial bid).

Much of the infrastructure costs attributed to the World Cup are part of the countries broader Qatar 2030 plan: to build an innovation hub with hotels, sophisticated underground transportation, stadiums, and airports.

While the World Cup has spurred these projects along, they’re largely investments for the long term.

Qatar is actively working to combat this by building world-class facilities at home. The World Cup serves as a means of promoting them.

Labor Concerns

For years, Qatar has been accused of human rights violations surrounding its efforts to build the demanded infrastructure to host a World Cup.

According to human rights group Amnesty International, there are 1.7 million migrant workers in the country, accounting for over 90% of the workforce in a population of 2.9 million.

Since the beginning of construction, there have been calls for improved conditions for both domestic and foreign laborers. As early as 2013, Amnesty international called for investigations.

The Kafala system which ties migrant workers to a specific employer or sponsor who then monitors them and is usually responsible for their visa and legal status  has been open to systemic abuse and created untenable working conditions for more than 1 million migrant workers.

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The National Museum of Qatar offered a fully immersive experience of how the country transformed from pearl-diving hub to one of the world’s richest purveyors of natural gas.

Then came the various cultural and innovation hubs that have sprouted up over the past decade.

Dominant Stadiums And Features

M7 innovation,Qatar

• The M7 innovation hub is a futuristic five-story building that houses everything from exhibition rooms to training workshops, while the Liwan Design Studios provide public access to anyone with the creative ambition to kick-off a project.

Then there’s the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, a three-story homage to competitive athletics and the Olympic spirit and of course a display of how sport has helped shape Qatar.

Stadium 974, Qatar

• Stadium 974 is said to be a sustainable project built entirely out of shipping containers(can be deconstructed). The stadium will host matches through-out the tournament  itself and subsequently sold to a nation looking for a“tournament ready” infrastructure.

I don’t doubt that the 2022 World Cup  will be recorded as a form of history-making.

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