30 April 2014
Qatar has cut the number of stadiums it plans to build for the 2022 soccer World Cup by a third.
The country, which won the right to host the world’s most-watched sporting event in 2010, now plans to build eight stadiums, Ghanim Al Kuwari, the organising committee’s senior manager for projects, said at a conference in Doha on 19 April, Bloomberg reported.
Qatar originally announced plans for 12 stadiums, including nine new playing fields and three refurbishments. Al Kuwari didn’t give a reason for the cut.
The Gulf state, which holds the world’s third-largest natural-gas reserves, plans to spend more than $200 billion on new infrastructure before the event, including $34 billion on a rail and metro system, $7 billion on a port and $17 billion on an airport.
Qatar’s Khalifa Stadium will be expanded for the 2022 World Cup (daly3d abd/Wikimedia Commons)
"Their decision was motivated by cost-cutting following an assessment of the real needs on the ground," John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at investment company MASIC in Riyadh, told Bloomberg in an email. "It does always make good sense to do necessary cost-cutting and reviews of capex for such huge projects that are front loaded."
The country is facing delays and rising costs related to the event. Work started later than planned on the new metro system and the opening of the new airport is six years behind schedule.
Last year consultant EC Harris predicted that construction inflation could soar to 18% during the peak construction boom in Qatar between 2016 and 2019.