‘Chance of Qatar los­ing World Cup’

The Sunday Guardian - - Sports -

T h e c o n t r o v e r s i a l 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar is un­der in­creas­ing risk of be­ing moved to an­other nation be­cause of “po­lit­i­cal risks”, ac­cord­ing to a con­fi­den­tial new re­port ex­am­in­ing the mul­ti­tude o f r i s k s sur­round­ing the tour­na­ment.

Fifa handed the 2022 World Cup to Qatar in 2010. It will be the first World Cup ever to be held in the Mid­dle East and the first not to be held in June or July, with the tour­na­ment in­stead sched­uled for late Novem­ber un­til mid-De­cem­ber be­cause of the high tem­per­a­ture.

How­ever, nu­mer­ous ac­cu­sa­tions of cor­rup­tion have been made re­lat­ing to how Qatar won the rights to stage the event. And in June, Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE) all cut ties with the Gulf state, al­leg­ing it was desta­bil­is­ing the Mid­dle East by sup­port­ing ter­ror­ism.

The new re­port into the tour­na­ment, com­piled by man­age­ment con­sul­tants Cor­ner­stone Global and ob­tained by the BBC, in­ves­ti­gates the im­pact of this diplo­matic cri­sis as well as the cur­rent in­fra­struc­ture project un­der­way in the coun­try to de­velop 12 sta­di­ums in the time for 2022.

It claims that the coun­try’s £153bn pro­gramme is a “high-risk project”, before con­clud­ing that it is “far from cer­tain” Doha will host the tour­na­ment.

“West­ern diplo­mats have pri­vately stated they do not know whether or not the tour­na­ment will take place as planned,” the re­port reads.

“The rea­sons f or t his are many and in­clude open al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion - both in the bid­ding process and in the in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment.

“Qatar is un­der g r e at e r pres­sure re­gard­ing its host­ing of the tour­na­ment... the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cri­sis has seen - or at least raised the pos­si­bil­ity of - a Qatari op­po­si­tion move­ment emerg­ing. b“This means an in­creased risk for those work­ing on, or seek­ing con­tracts for World Cup 2022 in­fra­struc­ture... with a risk of non-pay­ment and no re­al­is­tic abil­ity to en­force any le­gal con­tracts.

“Given the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion... it is cer­tainly pos­si­ble that the tour­na­ment will not be held in Qatar.”

How­ever, the re­port has been dis­missed by Qatar’s Supreme Com­mit­tee for De­liv­ery & Legacy, who claimed in a state­ment pub­lished in re­sponse to the BBC that there is “ab­so­lutely no risk” of the World Cup be­ing taken away from Qatar. “In the con­text of the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion we ques­tion the mo­tives which makes no se­cret of its af­fil­i­a­tion to the coun­tries blockng Qatar.”

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