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Sat 11 Dec 2010 12:00 AM

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Time and money

Contractors will have to be patient if they want to benefit from Qatar’s World Cup

Time and money

FIFA has made the people of Qatar very happy and that happiness is spreading quickly. Judging by the regional response to the country’s winning World Cup bid, the population of the GCC can barely wait the twelve years until the first kick-off of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

In the week following the announcement the local stock exchanges have been quick to reflect the positive mood of investors. Listed companies such as Barwa Real Estate, Arabtec and Drake & Scull International all enjoyed a surge in share value, as prices were buoyed by market sentiment enjoying the afterglow of an unexpected victory that was a bit like an injury-time goal scored from a brilliant set piece play.

Investors have suddenly become all enthusiastic about construction and real estate companies again because they can see the financial possibilities the World Cup preparations hold.

Qatar is a small and wealthy country that will have to build all of the facilities for the event more or less from scratch. Not everyone could manage this task, even with a dozen years of build up, but Qatar has form on its side too: it has previously successfully hosted the Asian Games.

Contractors may rightly be rubbing their hands with glee, but they will have to bide their time. When the tenders start to emerge there should be plenty of work to go around, but it will be a while before the details of all that will be needed are finally figured out, now the event is in the bag.

That said,  even the hardened optimists know there is a lot to do. The task ahead of Qatar to prepare itself is mammoth. A series of air-conditioned stadiums, which will eventually be recycled as a gift to developing nations, may have stolen the headlines, but there’s more to a World Cup than the venues.

Firstly Qatar needs to be able to house, feed, water and transport the thousands of fans who will descend on the small Gulf state. South Africa had the geographic luxury of spreading all its visitors over a massive country. Brazil, the next host, will have the same situation. On the other hand Qatar will be cramming fans into a city small enough to notice all the new people crowding the streets.

The local economy will get a boost at all levels, from those selling water to the heat-exhausted fans, to the hotel staff holding out for a decent tip.

Even though its ages away there are already those who have emphasised the need to deliver the goods. Qatar Project Management’s CEO Nasser Abdul Rahman Kamal described the bid as a good one, which looked at how the project could be achieved technically.

“A lot of hard work gone in to it, and it is a very big honour that Qatar has been given – but we must now deliver on that,” he said.

For those watching – including the grumbling losers – it is reassuring to see sensible talk of development intermingling with the celebration speeches. Qatar has a long way to go before it is ready, but it has the time and the money to make the 2022 FIFA World Cup a great event.

Stuart Matthews is the senior group editor of ITP Business' construction & design tiles.

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