Doha, the Qatari capital, is currently suffering from a significant economic crisis and the construction process for the World Cup, which Qatar will host in 2022, is witnessing a slowdown. The rate of construction at a cost of $200 billion decreased by 1.2% in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period last year.
According to reports by Qatar’s Planning and Statistics Authority, this slowdown in the rate of construction is considered a setback for the whole Qatari construction sector as well as the Qatari economy. The drop in the rate of construction is negatively affecting Qatar’s economic performance, as its gross domestic product (GDP), excluding oil and gas, grew by less than 2%in the first half of this year. By contrast, the annual growth rate in Qatar’s construction sector has reached about 18% since the end of 2012.
Since Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010, construction workers have been racing against time, as the Qatari regime decided to overhaul the country’s infrastructure by building roads, metro lines and thousands of hotel rooms.
In the meantime, the construction boom which Qatar began almost a decade ago has started to show signs of faltering since last year, ending up in a sharp slowdown in the rest of the economy, with mining and quarrying contracting in recent years.
Among further challenges facing Qatar in its preparations for the World Cup 2022 tournament is the high amount of dust in the air and extreme high temperatures. Such conditions can severely harm the energy efficiency of solar power installations which Qatar is depending on in its preparations for the event. Therefore, large scale solar development will depend on finding the means to operate PVs (photovoltaic solar power installations) in extreme heat and the ability to keep solar panels free of dust. Researchers at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute are still looking for solutions to these challenges.
FIFA decided that the competition would take place during November and December so as to avoid Qatar’s intense summer heat.
Since Qatar won the right to host of World Cup it has been criticised for several reasons, among them the death of at least 520 foreign labourers, more than 300 of whose deaths remain unexplained. Qatar claimed workers have died as some were suffering from heart problems, while others were alleged to have respiratory problems but nothing related to working conditions. But human rights bodies say these are euphemisms for heat-related deaths and argue that Qatar doesn't provide autopsy reports with the aim of hiding the real reasons.
FIFA has agreed that the 2026 World Cup tournament will jointly take place in Canada, Mexico and the United States and will feature 48 teams instead of 32. A similar proposal was suggested for the Qatar World Cup but FIFA made its final decision that the number of teams will remain at 32 because expanding the teams would require a neighbouring country to share responsibility with Qatar for hosting the tournament and this turned out to be unfeasible.