With construction of stadiums in full swing, loss of FIFA competition would cost Qatar about $16 billion, according to estimates
Further doubts have been raised over the likelihood of the 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar following the resignation on Tuesday of FIFA President Sepp Blatter, in the wake of a slew of corruption accusations against officials at the football organisation.
The construction of stadiums and surrounding infrastructure is in full swing in Qatar, part of a wider $200 billion spend by the world’s richest country.
But Blatter’s resignation, several arrests of other FIFA officials, plus an official probe into the awarding of the World Cup hosting rights in 2018 and 2022, have led some to claim that Qatar’s already controversial hosting of the tournament is less likely to happen.
Some US media outlets claim that Blatter is now part of a federal corruption investigation, according to reports.
“If I was the Qatari organizers I wouldn’t sleep very well tonight,” said Greg Dyke, chairman of England’s Football Association its FIFA delegate, quoted by USA Today.
“I think if the evidence comes out which shows the bidding processes were above board that’s fine. If it shows they were corrupt then obvious the bids should be redone, it is as simple as that.”
Ben Sturner, the chief executive of Leverage Agency, a New York-based sports and entertainment firm, told the Wall Street Journal that Blatter’s resignation is likely to spell more investigations.
“Blatter and Qatar came hand in hand,” he was quoted as saying.
The likelihood of Qatar hosting the World Cup has “dwindled drastically” after Blatter’s resignation, Azzmy Megahed, spokesman for the Egyptian Football Association, told the Journal.
Qatar’s World Cup organising committee did not respond to a request to comment when contacted by MEConstructionNews.com.
Doha-listed shares fell following news of Blatter’s exit, which came just days after he won re-election as FIFA president. Qatar’s index was down by 1.51% at 10.45am on Wednesday. Property shares led the decline, with the real estate index down 2.46%.
Qatar would lose about $16 billion should its right to host the 2022 World Cup be revoked, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.