2022 World Cup challenge
World Cup can eradicate misconceptions about Arab world; Qatar likely to make concessions on alcohol consumption; Solar-powered technology to cool stadiums.
December 16, 2010 9:52 by Reuters
“Plans for the biggest leagues would have to change for 2022, but that would not be a major undertaking,” FIFA Executive Committee member Franz Beckenbauer said recently in comments to German newspaper Bild. Bid committee and government officials are yet to comment on such a move.
In its technical report, FIFA cited Qatar’s intense summer heat as a potential health risk for players and spectators.
“In my view, FIFA has sold out the heritage of the World Cup — their coffers might be full at the end of it, but morally they have bankrupted themselves by totally ignoring what their own inspectors said about the unsuitability of the place to host the tournament,” said one UK-based soccer analyst.
The decision to award the event to Qatar, made amidst allegations of collusion, drew much media criticism, particularly from the British press. Two FIFA executive committee members were banned and fined over allegations they had offered to sell their votes in the vote to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
But FIFA’s ethics committee, which investigated allegations of collusion, found no evidence that Spain and Portugal’s joint bid, which lost out on the right to host the 2018 Cup, had cut a deal with Qatar.
READY TO SPEND
Qatar says it will prove it is a worthy host. Over the next five years it plans to build a $25 billion rail network, a $5.5 billion deep water seaport and a new airport for $11 billion which will be connected with big new residential and commercial projects in the northern part of the capital, Doha, by a $1 billion crossing. It will also spend an additional $20 billion on new roads.
For the World Cup, plans are in place to complete a metro system connecting each stadium by 2017 with venues no more than one hour apart from each other.
“The Qatar team made a very conscious decision to bid for 2022 and not 2018, whereas several bidders put themselves into both. They knew they were going to need a decade to deliver everything,” Lee said.
Blessed with abundant hydrocarbon resources — the country contains the world’s third largest gas reserves and is the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) — it has poured much of the windfall from LNG exports into education and cultural projects.
It hosts a cluster of elite Western universities, a scientific research park filled with blue-chip energy companies and a much-lauded museum of Islamic art. It plans a host of other museums, including one designed by famed French architect Jean Nouvel.
“What struck me about Qatar was that they really do want to put these resources to very good purposes. It’s not a question of just letting the oil and gas flow,” Lee said.