Clouds linger over Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting
Australia’s top football official reignited speculations about Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting event after hinting future twists in the controversial tale. Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy, re-elected for the top position, told media: “I don’t know whether you recall when I came back from that fateful day and I said this is not the last word about awarding the world cup.”
However, Lowy did not elaborate how and why Qatar would lose 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting rights. When demanded an explanation, he said: “Don’t ask me to elaborate because I don’t have the crystal ball, but the media all over the world is talking about the awarding particularly of 2022, the state of FIFA executive committee.”
“It’s not over and I don’t exactly know where it will bounce. The only thing I know is it’s not over yet,” he added during a press conference.
Meanwhile, anger over Australia’s unsuccessful bidding of $43.7 million has failed to subside despite the lapse of almost a year.
Lowy said main focus of the association is to host 2015 Asian Cup successfully.
Frank Lowy was appointed as the chairman of FFA in Sydney taking over reigns from Zhang Jilong who was working as the acting Asian Football Confederation President. Zhang was appointed as the president of AFC after Mohamed Bin Hammam was sacked on bribery allegations in June earlier this year.
Hammam denies all the claims against him and is currently appealing his ban in the Court of Arbitration of Sport.
Australia faced deep humiliation in the voting process when it received only one FIFA vote while Qatar went on to secure the privilige in Zurich last December. However, handing over the FIFA World Cup hosting rights to Qatar became a very controversial decision after several vote buying scandals surfaced in the media.
QATAR ECONOMY FEARS
Qatar is heavily banking on 2022 FIFA World Cup for growth in economy, especially in its tourism sector. Doha has already planned to build nine new air-conditioned stadiums and building other infrastructure worth US$27.45 billion.
“It’ll be the mother of all economic booms,” said George Nasra, the managing director of International Bank of Qatar. “They have to invest a significant amount in infrastructure. This means new transportation facilities, electricity grids, and water networks – even new cities.”
Nasra earlier said the country would witness an extra five percent growth in GDP. “In fact, this is a great chance for country to change the vision of the tourism,” he declared.
However, amid speculations of losing 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting event, Qatar’s future plans would be greatly affected because the tiny gas-rich sheikhdom has already pledged to invest $75 billion for enhancing its infrastructure including public and sports facilities and tourism sector.
According to IMF, the project has been already taken up into medium–term expenditure profile on the account of World Cup hosting. In case the hosting doesn’t take place, the investment plan will go ahead though some delays are expected.
Qatar is not worried about the cost of planned stadiums as construction work hasn’t started yet. Therefore, there is no danger of losing money as the projects are still in their planning stages.
Qatar’s tourism and hospitality sector is set to bear the brunt if FIFA withdraws the 2022 World Cup hosting rights. Doha had earlier announced of doubling hotels and apartments that will house 84,000 visitors and also to build a new city from scratch which will be linked to rest of the country.
Apart from tourism, country’s financial, property, and construction sectors are set to suffer losses. Currently, Dubai and Istanbul are the major tourist hubs and are miles ahead of Doha. However, with 2022 World Cup, Qatar aims to become tourism hub despite facing strong headwinds.
Source: The National, tilt, Zawya, Yahoo News