World Cup - Qatar get 2022 World Cup
Thu, 02 Dec 17:21:00 2010
Qatar have won the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar led on each of four rounds against their rivals, finally obtaining an absolute majority in the final round against the United States, which they won by 14 votes to eight.
The announcement of the winning bid was made by FIFA president Sepp Blatter at Zurich's Messezentrum.
Qatar and Russia, who will stage the 2018 finals, are both first-time hosts.
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Blatter said: "We go to new lands. Never has the World Cup been in Russia and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and Arabic world have been waiting for a long time so I'm a happy president when we talk about the development of football."
Qatar bid chief Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani told the FIFA executive: "Thank you for backing us and expanding the game. You will be proud of us and you will be proud of the Middle East."
Summer temperatures which can soar to above 50 degrees Celsius and a concern about lack of infrastructure did not deter FIFA from awarding the Cup to the tiny Gulf state.
The Middle East has never before hosted a major global sporting event and Qatar's win will do much to boost the region's global profile.
FIFA voters were likely to have been swayed by Qatar's hefty financial prowess as for the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas money is no object.
The country's economy, forecast to grow by 15.5 percent this year, is expected to soar a staggering 21 percent in 2011, allowing Qatar to pour as much cash as necessary into preparations for 2022.
It is likely to spare no expense in constructing stadiums for the event. The ultra-modern Lusail Stadium, which has yet to be built, will host the opening and final matches.
With a capacity of 86,000 and surrounded by water, it will take four years to build and is expected to be completed by 2019.
Under the proposals submitted to FIFA, Qatar would renovate three stadiums and build nine new ones, with the 12 stadiums divided among seven host cities.
The total cost of the construction and renovation would be around $3 billion, the bid estimates. It submitted a budget of $645.5 million to run the Confederations Cup in 2021 and the World Cup the following year. It projects a total number of 2,869,000 tickets will go on sale.
Still, much remains to be done, and many wonder whether even 12 years will be enough. The country is still being built, with much of the capital city Doha resembling a construction site.
Qatar has launched a huge spending programme in recent years to build infrastructure needed to accommodate its rapidly expanding population, now estimated at 1.7 million.
Over the next five years, the country will build a $25 billion rail network, an $11 billion new airport, a $5.5 billion new deep water seaport and a $1 billion crossing linking the new airport with mega-projects in the northern part of the capital, Doha. It will also spend an additional $20 billion on new roads.
Plans are in place to complete a metro system connecting each stadium by 2017 with venues no more than one hour apart from each other.
"Budget is not a constraint," said Jamal Al-Kaabi, manager of roads and drainage at Ashgal, Qatar's Public Works Authority.
Doubts linger over whether Qatar will be able to handle an influx of about 400,000 fans, many on a tight budget. Hosting a World Cup would require the capacity for 32 teams, their travelling fans and a huge media presence.
The country currently has about 50,000 hotel rooms and will need 60,000 to meet the requirements of FIFA. Bid leaders have promised 95,000 rooms will be available by 2022.
"With the Asian Games, it became a last-minute panic to get everything ready and in place," one Doha resident said. "The biggest thing is that there is so much to be done. It's a monumental task, and you need to finish it a few years early."
The country's conservative social mores may present a larger challenge than bid organisers anticipated. While it has become more Westernised in recent years, it is still a relatively closed Islamic nation.
Although Qatar has been eager to display a liberal and welcoming image to inspectors and media during recent months, the sale of alcohol and the possibility of rowdy behaviour from World Cup fans are likely to be a significant hurdle in an Islamic country where public drunkenness is prohibited.
Bid representatives have said alcohol will be allowed in designated areas throughout the tournament.
Although the tournament is played during the two hottest months of the year, bid organisers said the heat would not be an issue thanks to climate-controlled, zero-carbon-emitting stadiums.
The country has harnessed solar-powered technology to cool stadiums to about 27 Celsius.
The stadiums would also be partly dismantled after the finals, with the extra seating shipped to developing nations who could reconstruct them as smaller stadiums for their own use, a plus for developing football globally, bid organisers said.
Qatar will be the smallest host nation to stage the finals since Uruguay hosted the first World Cup in 1930. Ten out of its 12 stadiums are located within a 25 to 30 km radius.
South Korea 4
Australia 1 (eliminated)
South Korea 5
Japan 2 (eliminated)
South Korea 5 (eliminated)