Heat could wilt World Cup plans

05 May 2010

Staging football’s biggest event will be a major achievement and Doha is prepared to spend to achieve its goal

It will be a major achievement if Qatar’s bid to host football’s 2022 World Cup is successful.

In a country with a population of only 1.6 million, Qatar will be the smallest country to host football’s biggest event by far. Building all of the facilities and infrastructure for such a large sporting event will be an expensive affair.

With its large proven oil and gas reserves, Qatar does have the money to foot the bill. Qatar’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008 was $102bn, according to the Washington-headquartered International Monetary Fund, and it is prepared to spend to achieve its goal. Doha promises to spend $43bn to build infrastructure and 70,000 hotel rooms, in addition to the 12 stadiums.

However, one of the major obstacles for Qatar hosting major sporting events is the country’s climate. During summer, when the tournament will be played, the temperature will exceed 40 degrees Celsius.

The committee in charge of the Qatar’s 2022 bid say new cooling technologies designed for the stadiums will beat the heat, but this technology is largely unproven. Another problem that may hinder Qatar’s bid is its lack of sporting heritage as it has never qualified for the World Cup before. Both these factors derailed Doha’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

Qatar’s impressive bid proposal shows the emirate has the ambition and the money, but the climate and lack of sporting history means Qatar’s World Cup bid could remain a dream.

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