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Qatar 2022 – a record-breaking budget for a new vision

Hosting the FIFA World Cup is not only a huge responsibility for the country that is selected, but it is also one expensive affair, especially with the popularity of the competition soaring and the interest booming over the last three decades.

Until the first tournament hosted in Asia in 2002 by the Republic of Korea and Japan, the record for the biggest budget to organise the World Cup was set by Italy in 1990, with no less than $4 billion poured into setting up the competition, build the stadiums and create a unique experience.

Since that moment, with the expansion to 32 teams, a higher global profile for the competition, the emergence of social media and booming interest, the budget to organise an edition of the FIFA World Cup became bigger and bigger, but so did the revenues, as fans flocked to see their favourites play on the biggest of stages.

While the 2002 FIFA World Cup had a budget of $7 billion, costs dropped at the 2010 edition, hosted by South Africa, which had a $3.6 billion budget. Yet the last three tournaments, Brazil 2014, Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 have undoubtedly been the ones with the largest investments made in history.

With new stadiums and infrastructure being built from scratch in the last two editions of the FIFA World Cup prior to Qatar 2022, the costs have tripled for Brazil in 2014 from the previous edition, jumping to a whopping $11.6 billion. $14.6 billion was the amount previsioned for Russia in 2018, in another uptick of nearly 20%.

But nothing compares to Qatar 2022 in terms of budget, as all the previous 21 editions of the World Cup combined do not even reach half of the vast $220 billion poured by the Middle East state into organising the highest-profile football competition on Earth.

Hosting the FIFA World Cup was one of the crown jewels in Qatar’s ambitious National Vision 2030 project, whose aim is to “transform Qatar into an advanced society capable of achieving sustainable development” by 2030. Therefore, the World Cup is paramount to Qatar’s development, with large funds dedicated to creating the proper infrastructure to enhance the good organization of the tournament.

With only one of the eight hosting stadiums having already been built before the start of the tournament, the rest of the seven needed for the competition cost roughly $6.5 billion, according to official estimates.

$36 billion were reserved for a driverless metro system, which interconnects the eight venues and other attraction points in Qatar, a system which was inaugurated in 2019 and is now fully operational, offering residents and visitors easy access to business, commercial and tourism hubs. The three lines are 76 kilometres long and offer easy access to all crucial points in Qatar.

“We have always been confident that Qatar will deliver the best ever FIFA World Cup. But to achieve this, everything off the pitch much match the world class standard we know we will witness on it. From what we have seen today – there can be no doubt that what Qatar has delivered away from the stadiums is just as amazing as what they have delivered at the eight magnificent venues,” said FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, during a visit to Qatar in October.

Another key part of organising the World Cup was the Hamad International Airport, which has been operational since 2014. A major player in the airline carrier business, Qatar spent $16 billion developing it since it first opened in 2014, with the airport becoming a key gate through Asia, Oceania and Africa over the last decade.

Undoubtedly, the biggest project was building a city from scratch. Located North of Doha, Lusail is spread over 38 square kilometres and will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup final in its new, state-of-the-art Lusail Stadium, an 80,000-seater venue which is one of the most modern arenas in the world.

According to official data, building a city from scratch that could accommodate over 450.000 people, Lusail took $45 billion, being the largest project ever imagined for the FIFA World Cup.

Last, but not least, Qatar has trained more than 50,000 people to provide security during the World Cup, the interior ministry said on Thursday, with foreign forces helping under Qatari command, with the costs for security reaching $1 billion, according to Reuters.

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