Cost Qatar? A $221bn bill for the 2022 World Cup


The 2022 World Cup will set the Qatar government back by $221bn in development and infrastructure costs according to an analyst who does this for a living. Small change for the richest country in the world even as they stand to lose billions without recouping but a small fraction. FIFA by the way will have made out with its billions in TV and merchandising revenue with all its earnings non-taxable because of its non-profit status.
To put this in perspective, the 2006 World Cup in Germany cost $8.5bn to host. South Africa spent $4bn for the 2010 World Cup. The business generated from these events boosted the GDP by about .5% in both countries.
The projected costs of the 2014 edition runs to $15bn with about 50% devoted to developing transportation (rail, road, and air) because Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world. The World Cup will boost Brazil’s GDP by 1.5% according to a bank estimate.
That escalates to about $65bn to $115bn by the 2018 World Cup where the estimates to carpet Russia with high speed rail covering a surface area of 6,601,668 sq miles (the largest country in the world) will itself entail an expenditure of $35bn to $85bn, depending on the source. Without that additional burden, the figures plummet to a more sedate $25bn to $30bn.
This is eclipsed by Qatar where traversing its miniscule 4,473sq miles (164th in surace area) is not the really the problem but building stadia, training facilities, and accomodation that is air-conditioned will cost them $171billion. A new port and expansion to the Doha International Airport adds another $50bn.
There will be no hard feelings between Qatar and FIFA even if the 2022 World Cup is underwritten as a comprehensive loss because by that year the oil and gas earnings generated will more than make up for it (FY 2011 $80.8bn). Government revenues are projected to rise on an average $50bn a year because of increased demand in the energy sector. The 2022 World Cup is more of a vanity project than a economic fillip to a country that really does not need one.

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