• Officals in Doha are privately worried that Qatar may lose World Cup
  • Fifa representatives have said tournament could be rebid if corruption evidence is found
  • Decision making on World Cup projects is expected to slow down

The fast moving events that followed the arrest of Fifa officials at a Swiss hotel on the morning of 27 May and Sepp Blatter’s decision on 2 June to step down as president of Fifa have resulted in concerns among officials in Doha that Qatar may lose the World Cup.

“Nobody is openly saying anything, but they are worried,” says a Doha-based executive.

The concern for business is that just the possibility of Qatar losing the World Cup will slow down decision making in Doha, particularly on projects that being built specifically for the tournament such as the stadiums.

The head of Fifa’s audit and compliance committee has said Qatar could lose football’s 2022 World Cup if evidence of bribery is found. Speaking to Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung, Domenico Scala said that: “Should there be evidence that the awards to Qatar and Russia came only because of bought votes, then the awards could be cancelled.”

“No matter what happens over coming months decision making will be slow as no one can really be sure as to what will happen,” says the executive.

Two high profile World Cup projects are due to be awarded soon after contractors submitted bids for contracts to build the Al-Wakrah and Al-Bayt stadiums. An award for the Al-Bayt stadium is expected first. Contractors submitted offers in April and it is understood that companies had been shortlisted for the work.

Publicly, Qatar has been quick to hit back at claims that it might lose the 2022 World Cup. It issued a statement after comments by England Football Association chairman Greg Dyke following Sepp Blatter’s announcement that he will step down on 2 June.

“Mr Dyke’s instinct to immediately focus on stripping Qatar of the World Cup speaks volumes on his views concerning what will be the first Fifa World Cup to take place in the Middle East,” said a statement from Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani, president of the Qatar Football Association.

“Having already cooperated fully with Mr Garcia’s investigation and having been subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing, we welcome the Office of the Swiss Attorney General conducting its own work into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.”

Dyke had said in a televised on the: “If I was in Qatar right now, I would not be feeling very comfortable.”

On 27 May, authorities in Switzerland arrested Fifa officials on corruption charges on behalf of the US. On 2 June, Fifa’s secretary-general, Jerome Valcke, was named by US media as the person responsible for a $10m transfer of funds cited in a US indictment. After his address on 2 June, the New York Times reported that Blatter himself was now under investigation as part of the same inquiry.

Qatar secured the rights to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010. Since then it has been the source of persistent controversy over the past five years, with repeat allegations of corruption and the abuse of migrant workers.

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