World Cup uncertainty is a bad decision for Qatar

05 October 2013

Qatar faces an uneasy year as Fifa defers World Cup decision to 2014

Markets can deal with bad news, but what they cannot handle is uncertainty.

The old adage for stock markets had a familiar ring to it for businesses working in Qatar on 4 October as Fifa delayed any decision on the future of the 2022 World Cup until after the tournament is held in Brazil next year in 2014.

The decision by world football’s governing body to make no decision on moving the tournament to the cooler winter months means that for the next nine to 10 months Qatar and the rest of the world will have to wait to find out what happened to the 2022 World Cup. During that time Fifa will consult with other stakeholders ranging from domestic football leagues to other sporting events that are held in the winter months such as the American football’s superbowl and the Winter Olympics.

While that happens the speculation and controversy surround the tournament will grow, and although Fifa remains committed to hosting the event in Qatar, the indecision means that the next year will be an uneasy one for everyone involved in the tournament and the preparations for it.

Over the past few months the future of the tournament has attracted the attention of the global media, and while most of the stories have focussed on the failings of Fifa, there have also been reports that have damaged Qatar’s reputation as a place to do business.

The report in mid-September by UK daily the Guardian has been the most controversial, claiming that hundreds of migrant workers will be killed on construction sites as Qatar build $70bn of new infrastructure ahead of the World Cup.

While construction companies working in Qatar dispute the accuracy of the numbers quoted, none say that Qatar is a safe place to work. The report has also attracted Fifa’s attention who will now hold talks with Qatar’s Emir to discuss the issue, and the construction industry is already expecting a backlash as strict new labour regulations are introduced giving them little time to adjust their operations accordingly.

As the World Cup issue rumbles on Qatar and companies working in the country will have to try and shut out the noise of uncertainty that Fifa has done little to stamp out and focus on preparing for the event that in 2014 will be just eight years away. Or maybe it will be eight and a half? Or maybe it won’t be at all?

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