DOHA: Rising costs may lead to Qatar reducing the number of stadiums it plans to develop for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Bloomberg, citing a note the US bank issued to investors after meetings with the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, reports that organisers are negotiating with FIFA to cut the number of venues from the original 12 to eight or nine.
In its bid to host the World Cup, Qatar pledged to build nine new stadiums and refurbish three others, all in the space of 10 years.
“We are fully committed to delivering on the commitments we made to FIFA,” said Yasir Al Jamal, technical director of Qatar 2022, in a statement. “The requirement is a minimum of eight and a maximum of 12 stadiums. We are currently working on delivering our first five stadiums.”
Qatar has agreed to spend up to $65bn on developing the infrastructure needed to host the World Cup but this includes not only stadia but massive investment in wider development, including accommodation and a $25bn rail and metro network.
However, in the note Alberto Ades, head of emerging-market fixed-income strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said costs are likely to exceed the bank’s initial estimate of $95bn.
The note will raise interest among all those countries – Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States – which lost out to surprise winner Qatar in the host vote undertaken by the FIFA executive committee in December 2010.
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