Qatar has reduced the number of stadiums planned for the FIFA 2022 World Cup by a third due to rising costs and continuous project delays, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The Gulf state will build around eight stadiums for the mega-sporting event, down from the 12 that were originally planned, including nine new playing fields and three refurbishments, said Ghanim Al Kuwari, the organising committee’s senior manager for projects.
Although Al Kuwari did not specify the reason for the reduction, experts have attributed the decision to rising costs.
“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, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg.
“It does always make good sense to do necessary cost-cutting and reviews of capex for such huge projects that are front loaded.”
Qatar previously announced a raft of infrastructure projects, including a new rail and metro system, a port and a new airport in preparation for the World Cup.
The Gulf state planned to spend around $200 billion on these projects, while the stadiums were estimated to cost around $4 billion to build, as per the Ministry of Business and Trade.
Construction on the majority of the World Cup projects has been reportedly delayed due to bureaucratic hurdles but officials said that they would be fast-tracked to be completed on time.
The OPEC member is also likely to reschedule around 15 per cent of its projects in the coming years to speed up the World Cup developments.
Construction on the Warka stadium has begun and work of Al Rayan stadium is scheduled to begin later this year or early next year.
The project manager for al Rayan district, Yasser Al Mulla, said earlier this year that Qatar will issue 10 tenders for project managers and design consultants to work on stadiums being built for the World Cup.
Qatar’s government spending rose almost 33 per cent in the first half of the fiscal year after a slow start to FIFA 2022 projects.
The Gulf state is embroiled in a number of corruption allegations regarding the event, including being accused of buying the right to host the World Cup.
Qatar also came under fire by the international human rights community after reports of migrant workers being ill-treated in the country.