Qatar hires stadium experts for World Cup 2022

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A ground level view is displayed of Al Gharafa stadium, planned in Doha to host the 2022 soccer World Cup

A ground level view is displayed of Al Gharafa stadium, planned in Doha to host the 2022 soccer World Cup

The organisers of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar have hired IMG and Amsterdam Arena as stadium operations consultants for the prestigious football tournament.

In a statement, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said that the two would assist on the development of business cases for all of the competition venues during the event, including stadia and their precincts, as well as training sites.

Amsterdam Arena and IMG will also perform technical reviews of each stadium at every design phase, on aspects including safety and security, maintenance, technology integration, catering and commercial strategies.

“By involving us in this early stage and letting us develop the programme wide strategies on various subjects we can optimally contribute to the organisation of the World Cup,” commented Henk Markerink, CEO, Amsterdam Arena.

“We are delighted that the perspective of stadium operators has been integrated at such an early stage of the development process which is vital not only for successful delivery of the tournament but also a sustainable legacy,” added Iain Barnett, vice president, IMG’s stadium group.

Amsterdam Arena is the owner and operator of the Dutch city’s multifunctional football stadium, which is home to top tier club AFC Ajax and recently hosted the UEFA Europa League Final. IMG, based in New York, is one of the world’s biggest venue management firms.

Last month it emerged that Qatar is negotiating with FIFA, football’s world governing body, to reduce the number of stadia it builds for the 2022 World Cup, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said.

The oil and gas-rich Gulf nation had asked to cut the number of stadiums from 12 to eight or nine amid rising costs, the US bank said in a statement to investors.

Qatar’s World Cup bid states it would spend about $4bn on stadiums, including expanding three existing venues and building nine new state-of- the-art stadiums with capacities of at least 43,000 each.

However, Bank of America Merrill Lynch head of emerging market fixed income strategy Alberto Ades said the total cost for infrastructure for the World Cup would likely exceed the bank’s initial estimate of $95bn.

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