For Qatar, the financial impact of losing hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup would likely be minimal, but the loss could prompt several project delays, a new report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch has said.
The findings come as the football community awaits the release of FIFA’s investigation into the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and Qatar’s 2022 bid.
A FIFA ethics committee led by American lawyer Michael Garcia is expected to release its report during the middle of this month.
Meanwhile, a leading official for Qatar’s 2022 organizing committee has said he is “confident” that the Gulf state will retain its hosting rights.
BofA Merrill Lynch’s report is based on a five-year projected central government spending of around $100 billion, which equates to around one third of total investments during this period.
It stated that Qatar would stand to lose about $16 billion (QR58 billion) if FIFA decides to revoke its hosting rights.
Most of that money would come from canceled stadium and hotel projects. The loss equates to around 7.5 percent of Qatar’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – or 1 to 1.5 percent each year in the run up to 2022.
According to Jean-Michel Saliba, a MENA economist for the bank:
“The direct impact due to potential loss of the World Cup 2022 hosting rights is small but broader infrastructure pipeline could face delays.”
Without an “execution focus,” Lusail City, the new port and upgrades to the road network could be pushed back, the report stated.
However, it added that construction would likely move ahead eventually, as many of these projects were planned before Qatar was awarded the World Cup and comprise integral parts of the 2030 National Vision.
The report, which is a client advisory and is not publicly available, lists a number of the key infrastructure projects that are already underway or which are planned, with a total estimated budget of $142billion.
It includes a number of oil and gas-related projects, the downtown Mshereib redevelopment, Energy City, Doha Metro and the light-rail and transit system.
Confidence as host
Meanwhile, a senior official of Qatar’s 2022 organizing committee has given an interview to Al Jazeera this week, voicing his confidence that Qatar would retain hosting rights.
In his first interview since renewed corruption allegations arose, Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy’s communications director Nasser Al-Khater spoke to presenter Lee Wellings in Brazil.
Asked if he was worried Qatar would lose the World Cup, Al Khater replied: “We are not worried, we are confident that the World Cup will take place in Qatar.”
“We have been true to what we have said in the past, to our statements that we have always put out – that we have held ourselves to the highest ethical standards stem from our hearts.
We believe it, we are confident in it, we are confident of how we have behaved.”
Al Khater also fielded a question about why the SCDL seemed to respond so slowly to allegations leveled against Qatar, saying:
“There is a culture of modesty and with modesty, it means that sometimes you don’t engage publicly, especially sometimes you feel that the engagement would bring you down to a level that you don’t want to stoop down to.”
You can view an excerpt of the interview here. The full interview is being broadcast on Al Jazeera English this afternoon.