The former FIFA president Sepp Blatter said to the Swiss newspaper group Tamedia that the decision to let Qatar host the World Cup tournament was a “bad choice.” The reason he stated was: “It’s a country that’s too small,” and “Football and the World Cup are too big for that.”
His stance has sparked a lot of controversial debates in the media. However, no one can deny that the Qatar World Cup is the most expensive World Cup tournament ever in history.
The cost of the World Cup was said to be more expensive than all of the previous World Cup tournaments put together. According to Front Office Sports, Qatar has spent $220B to prepare for this year’s World Cup with the majority of that money going toward infrastructure costs including expenses for 7 new and 1 renovated stadiums, 100 hotels and accommodation towers, new roads and upgraded airports. This means that the World Cup in Qatar has cost nearly 19 times more than the most recent World Cup, which took place in Russia four years ago.
Right in 2017, Qatar’s minister of finance claimed the country was spending $500 million each week on infrastructure projects such as roads, hotels, stadiums, airport upgrades, hospitals to get the country ready to host the world’s largest sporting event.
Costs for Qatar’s refurbished and new stadiums alone have been estimated to be between $6.5 billion and $10 billion, a significant increase from the $4 billion initially proposed. Despite the high expenses associated with building and modernizing the eight stadiums, Qatar is the host country with the fewest World Cup venues since Brazil 1970, when there were only 16 countries competing. The country planned to have 12 stadiums used for the tournament but had to cut down to 8 due to financial concerns.
However, much of the infrastructure costs for World Cup is part of the Qatar 2030 Vision which aims to build Qatar into an advanced society capable of sustaining its development and providing a high standard of living for its people. As a result, Qatar’s infrastructure will be upgraded to make the country become an innovation hub with hotels, sophisticated underground transportation, stadiums, and airports. Promoting sports is a component of the country’s social development strategy, which aims to give its people a healthier and better quality of life.
Therefore, getting involved with the World Cup is not only to promote Qatar’s images globally but also in a plan to enable its people to have a higher living standard.
In addition, the World Cup is also expected to pay off some of its expenses. The Qatar World Cup is estimated to bring more than 1 million tourists to the country of which the population is just almost 3 million. The tournament is also expected to bring $17B to the economy.
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