QATAR World Cup chiefs insisted yesterday they are on course to be ready for 2022 despite fresh doubts over whether they will be able to host the tournament.
A report by consultants Cornerstone Global seen by the BBC warned construction contractors working on the £150 billion infrastructure programme that it was a “high-risk” venture.
It reportedly puts most of the blame on the ongoing tensions between the Gulf despotism and its neighbours. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have cut ties with Qatar.
And apparently “tournament insiders and regional experts have both stated … that it is far from certain Doha will actually host the tournament.”
The consultants said it was questionable whether Qatar would be able to build the eight stadiums, 64 training grounds and transport infrastructure planned.
Ghanim Ali al-Kuwari, Qatar’s competition venues executive director, claimed yesterday that they are still on track to be ready for the tournament in five years.
“One stadium is ready and the other seven are on schedule,” he said, insisting that “the blockade has actually been a benefit, I would say. We have different resources now, different support from different countries.”
The build-up to World Cup 2022 has been dogged with problems since it was controversially awarded to Qatar in 2010.
The tournament has subsequently had to be moved to winter because of the temperatures in the summer.
And migrant workers on construction sites are subject to the most appalling conditions. Hundreds die every year.