BE2C2 Report — Qatar could be the last country to solo host the World Cup, as FIFA prepare to accept applications from nations who want to co-host the 2026 games.
Speaking to media on Friday while in Doha, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the tournament could be held by up to four countries, according to Reuters.
This is because many nations incur a heavy financial toll preparing for and hosting the World Cup, Doha News reported.
Qatar for example is spending $500 million a week on tournament and infrastructure-related projects ahead of 2022.
“We will encourage co-hosting for the World Cup because we need FIFA to show we are reasonable and we have to think about sustainability long-term,” Infantino said.
Bidding for the games could begin later this year.
Qatar spending $200bn on infrastructure projects for FIFA World Cup 2022
More than $200bn will be spent in total by the gas-rich Emirate in preparation for the World Cup, a figure that covers stadiums and major projects such as roads, a new airport and hospitals, the country’s finance minister said in a media briefing last week.
Asked if this would make Qatar’s tournament the most expensive World Cup ever, Mr. Ali Sherif Al Emadi said no.
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is reported to have cost $11bn to host, while Russia increased government spending on the 2018 World Cup by $321m to $10.7bn.
Brazil struggled to get many of its stadiums ready, but Mr Emadi told reporters in Doha last Tuesday that Qatar had already awarded 90% of the contracts for 2022 projects and that two-thirds would be delivered within the next 24 months.
“We are spending close to $500m per week on capital projects and this will carry on for the next three to four years to achieve our goal and objective of really getting the country ready for 2022.”
“We are giving ourselves a good chance to deliver things on time,” he added. “We don’t want to be in a place where we start painting when people are coming to the country.”
In order to achieve this, contractors have brought in hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, mainly from South Asian nations.
Emadi, who was speaking to a group of international journalists on a government-invited press trip, said the money for World Cup projects had been protected from cuts despite Qatar experiencing budget constraints in recent times because of energy price fluctuations.
Qatar has allocated $11bn in its 2017 budget for transport projects which represents 21.2% of the total budget for the year, with another $2.7bn allocated for rail projects and Hamad Port, according to The Peninsula.
The pressure on the state finances is now easing because of higher oil prices, and Mr Emadi said Qatar might not need to issue international bonds this year.
Qatar has the world’s third-largest natural gas reserves and produces up to 800,000 barrels of oil a day.
In consort with other Gulf nations, Qatar plans to introduce a Value Added Tax, though Al Emadi said that this might be postponed until 2019, AP reports.