Qatar unlikely to reap World Cup 2022 riches - Citigroup

US bank's chief economist for Middle East says football event will not be 'net beneficial' for country
Qatar unlikely to reap World Cup 2022 riches - Citigroup
A model of the Al-Gharrafa stadium to be used in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. (AFP/Getty Images)
By Bloomberg
Mon 16 May 2011 07:35 PM

Qatar, awarded the right to host
the 2022 soccer World Cup last year, won’t see an economic benefit from
hosting the event, Citigroup’s chief economist for the Middle East
said.

“You do risk
having hotel rooms sitting idle for a long time,” Farouk Soussa said at
a conference in Doha, Qatar, on Monday. “I would not say, from a
cost-benefit analysis, the World Cup is going to be net beneficial to
Qatar.”

Qatar will
need to increase the number of hotel rooms tenfold to reach the 90,000
pledged, he said. Existing hotel occupancy rates hover at about 60
percent in the emirate, he said.

The country, with a population of about
1.6 million people, will be the smallest to host the tournament since
Uruguay in 1930.

Qatar beat
the US, Australia, South Korea and Japan to win the 2022 World Cup at a
ceremony hosted in Zurich in December. The country will invest about
$88 billion in infrastructure for the World Cup, Qatar National Bank’s
Assistant General Manager and Head of Project Finance Enrico Grino said
today.

As part of
its bid, Qatar pledged to build nine new stadiums and refurbish three
others, each of which will utilise solar-powered cooling technology in a
country where summer temperatures rise as high as 50 degrees Celsius
(122 degrees Fahrenheit).

The
emirate’s bid also included building accommodation for visitors, rail
and metro links as well as a bridge to nearby Bahrain. 

The new stadiums
will be partly dismantled and shipped to developing countries when the
event is over to help mitigate the problem of unneeded infrastructures.

Most
economic benefits from expenditures for the World Cup won’t come until
after 2016, the state-run General Secretariat for Development Planning
said in a March 28 report.

Qatar, the
world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, projects its economy
to expand by 20 percent this year in nominal terms.

The country will
have the world’s fastest growing gross domestic, according to
International Monetary Fund projections.

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