Qatar will spend a whopping $200 billion on construction projects to host the 2022 World Cup, a report released this month by consulting firm Deloitte has said.
The vast majority of that amount, some $140 billion, will go toward transportation infrastructure, including a new airport, roads and a metro system, to manage the nearly half a million people expected to visit the country for the games.
Another $20 billion will go to tourism infrastructure, with Qatar estimating the number of tourists to reach 3.7 million annually by 2022.
High price tag
The price tag is almost 75 times as much money as South Africa spent in 2010 after hosting the Cup for $2.7 billion. And its about 14 times more than the $14 billion Brazil plans to spend to host the month-long tournament next year.
Some argue that the amount makes sense, given that Qatar’s population has doubled in the past six years and its infrastructure badly needs updating. But that is not the only reason the country is spending so much money before 2022, argues a professor interviewed by Time Magazine.
According to Shaul Gabby, an international studies professor at the University of Denver who studies Qatar:
“The most important value in Arab culture and tradition is honor, which brings respect and the fear of possible adversaries. This is even more important in a time of turmoil and instability in the Middle East, where the basic legitimacy of old, traditional regimes are publicly and visibly shaking.”
The Arab world, says Gabbay, will enjoy a psychological lift if Qatar can successfully host the World Cup. So Qatar is sparing no expense to guarantee its success.