Qatar once again finds itself embroiled in controversy regarding its hosting of the Fifa World Cup in 2022, amid reports that it is reviewing the number of stadiums to be constructed for the tournament.

The news that it might use fewer venues than it set out in its initial bid is further evidence that the government is keen to downsize the scope of its plans for the event.

In an earlier move, Qatar Railways Company reduced the scope of the Doha metro scheme so that it could concentrate on the key elements of the network it needs in place for the tournament. What further impact, if any, a reduction in the number of stadiums would have on the metro project remains to be seen, but it would surely help shrink costs for the transport scheme. 

While Qatar has faced heavy criticism regarding many aspects of its handling of the preparations for the football tournament, it cannot be blamed for wanting to reduce its investment in the tournament. Its desire to build fewer stadiums makes sound sense, given that most matches will be held in Doha and its surroundings, unlike in previous World Cups where host countries of the Fifa World Cup have used venues in multiple cities to maximise the economic impact.

However, the new controversy does raise further questions about the credibility of Qatar’s bid document and its future plans for the tournament.