Gulf row could “wreak havoc” on World Cup construction

The diplomatic row unfolding in the Gulf states could "wreak havoc" on the build programme for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, an expert has warned.

The warning came as news emerged today that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and three other countries have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the tiny country’s leadership of supporting terrorism in the region and destabilising the Gulf through its relations with Iran.

In a dramatic rift, Qatar’s neighbours have cut off flights and road transport, and have recalled citizens.

It comes amid an unprecedented building boom in Qatar, which is preparing for the 2022 World Cup. A new port, a medical zone, a metro project and eight stadiums are just some of the major construction projects underway.

Key materials including concrete and steel come in by ship but also by land from neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the BBC reports.

The closure of that border could push up prices and lead to delays, exacerbating an already looming materials shortage.

Prolonged isolation would "wreak havoc on the timeline and delivery" of the World Cup, Kristian Ulrichsen, a Gulf expert at the US-based Baker Institute, told the BBC.

Another is labour and skills. Around 180,000 Egyptians live in Qatar, with many involved in engineering as well as construction.

Image: Khalifa stadium, Qatar, was completed last month (The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy)

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