Qatar is negotiating with FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, to reduce the number of stadiums it builds for the 2022 World Cup, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The oil-rich Gulf nation had asked to cut the number of stadiums from 12 to eight or nine amid rising costs, the US bank said in a statement to investors, as reported by Bloomberg.
Qatar’s World Cup bid states it would spend about $4bn on stadiums, including expanding three existing venues and building nine new state-of- the-art stadiums with capacities of at least 43,000 each.
However, Bank of America Merrill Lynch head of emerging market fixed income strategy Alberto Ades said the total cost for infrastructure for the World Cup would likely exceed the bank’s initial estimate of $95bn.
Qatar World Cup organizing committee told Bloomberg it would adhere to its infrastructure promise during the bid.
“We are fully committed to delivering on the commitments we made to FIFA,” technical director of the Qatar World Cup organizing committee Yasir Al Jamal said. “The requirement is a minimum of eight and a maximum of 12 stadiums. We are currently working on delivering our first five stadiums.”
Qatar has told FIFA it would spend about $100bn, the equivalent of 87 percent of its GDP, on infrastructure projects in the lead up to the World Cup. About 40 percent would be government funding, while government entities such as Qatar Petroleum also would invest.
The plan includes a $25bn metro and rail network and a $10bn upgrade to the Doha International Airport.
There has been ongoing criticism over the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, amid concerns it would be too hot and labourers used to build the infrastructure were not being treated humanely.
Earlier this month the International Trade Union Confederation appealed to FIFA to cancel Qatar’s right to host the event and run a new vote that requires countries to include workers’ rights in their bid.
ITUC claims “hundreds of workers are dying and thousands more are injured in Qatar”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also has urged Qatar to ensure a reliable legal framework for companies bidding for the multi-million dollar infrastructure projects
Meanwhile there have been allegations of corruption and vote-buying among FIFA executives and concerns that extreme heat will endanger athletes.
Source: Arabain Business
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