Qatar is preparing for the worst World Cup in history

To prepare for its World Cup, Qatar spent more than its $180 billion GDP. In fact, the emirate spent $200 billion between 2012 and 2022, according to Deloitte estimates. This includes $140 billion for transportation infrastructure and $15 billion for hotels. In 2017, Qatar’s finance minister cited costs of “$500 million a week », which confirms the orders of magnitude of Deloitte.

“We’ve never seen anything like it for a World Cup. In 2014, Brazil spent $15 billion and Russia spent $11.6 billion in 2018. But Qatar’s spending isn’t strictly related to the World Cup event. They are part of the country’s development plan for 2030. Doha sees them primarily as soft power investments to get the country talking.”states the professor of economics at the University of Dijon Mathieu Llorca.

The $17 billion in economic benefits in question

The profits promised by Qatari officials are no less derisive given this excess of investment. The chairman of the organizing committee Nasser Alkhater estimates $17 billion in direct economic benefits at a cost of $8 billion (that is, the sum of building the stadiums alone). According to him, the World Cup will bring $9 billion to the local economy.

Yet even discounting all of the peripheral investment, which adds up to a deficit of around $180 billion, rNothing says Qatar’s predictions will come true. “Organizers of major sports competitions often underestimate budgets and overestimate revenues. This phenomenon is called “curse of the winner” or “curse of the winner of the auction”. explains economist Mathieu Llorca.

The estimates of the head of the organizing committee wet AlKhater relies on the arrival of 1.4 million tourists; a very ambitious goal. That ” World “ 2014 in Brazil, one of the most anticipated in the history of the country where football is a religion, attracted 1.1 million tourists over the five weeks of the competition. And Dilma Rousseff’s Brazil was betting on $3 billion in spin-offs versus the $17 billion the Qataris were hoping for.

Imported Supporters

However, three days before the first game, the crowd in the streets of Doha looks modest. The irrepressible French, the mainstay of blues fans, are six times less likely to travel to Qatar than at the 2018 edition in Russia. According to the Football Supporters Europe association, the average budget of a European fan is 6,000 euros, two to three times more than the trip to Russia cost him.

The imposed dress code, which is particularly strict for women, alcohol restrictions that can only be consumed in certain areas, and fears of homosexual reception are obstacles preventing supporters from traveling to the Persian Gulf before Christmas.

Putting Qatar on the world map »

The audiovisual impact could also be weaker than expected. In western countries we hear much more criticism of the ecological consequences and the treatment of global workers than general enthusiasm.

But the goal for the emirate lies elsewhere.

“The economics of the World Cup are not part of the Qatari considerations. It’s a country that has very different economic standards than ours, with colossal gas gains for a small number of residents. GDP per capita is one of the highest in the world., recalls Mathieu Llorca. The latter doubts that the facilities like the eight stadiums built can be perceived as investments to be reused by the 380,000 Qatari citizens. And recalls the priority of Emir Al-Thani and his father Emir before him: “Put Qatar on the world map”. whatever the price

World Cup 2022: Qatar’s time trial to win the battle of mentalities