Report: Qatar to reduce World Cup stadiums to eight as costs soar

QatarStadiumAlGharafa1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Even Qatar isn’t immune to a financial crisis.

The oil-rich country has decided to reduce the amount of stadiums they plan to build from 12 to eight for the 2022 World Cup they were picked to host, according to a report from Doha. Qatar’s bid included plans to build nine new stadiums from scratch with a capacity of 40,000 or more and expand three current stadiums to add more seating and other improvements.

Ghanim Al Kuwari, the Qatar local organizing committee’s senior manager for projects, did not give a reason for cutting the planned stadium amount.

Reports recently stated that Qatar is expected to spend as much as $205 billion on infrastructure projects in the next eight years, including $34 billion on a rail and metro system, $7 billion for a marine port, and $17 billion for a new airport.

And while there was no official reason given, it’s believed that a shrinking in Qatar’s surplus (down by 1.4 percent) is the reason for the cost-cutting.

Bloomberg reports that work began late on the metro system and that the new airport is about six years behind schedule.

As recently as April 2013, the local organizing committee was negotiating with FIFA to reduce the stadiums from the originally planned 12 down to eight, according to a note sent to investors by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The note also stated that costs were expected to exceed the bank’s initial estimate of $95 billion.

In addition to building stadiums, Qatar are expected to construct 92 training sites for teams to use.

An e-mailed statement received by Bloomberg from Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy said, “As is the case with any FIFA World Cup, once a country is chosen as host, a review of the bid plans is made with the organizers to propose the final host cities and stadia projects, which then need to be approved by the FIFA Executive Committee. The requirement is a minimum of eight and a maximum of 12 stadia.”

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What do you think of this report? Do you

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110 Responses to Report: Qatar to reduce World Cup stadiums to eight as costs soar

  1. Jay Boca says:

    Odds on US ending up hosting this World Cup?

    • James says:

      I don’t see any chance of this happening. It’s total BS, but there’s no way they move it after millions (billions?) have already been spent on construction.

      I hope the Qatar BS is finally embarrassing FIFA enough to change the bidding process. How is it possible to win on a bid that consists of playing a WC in the summer in 12 stadiums, but actually play the WC in winter in 8 stadiums? It is such a joke. This isn’t even mentioning the travesty that is stadium worker treatment. The whole situation is infuriating.

      • Ali Dia says:

        Agree 100%. The USA winning the WC at the first turn is a far different and much messier proposition than trying to wrestle it back.

        I think the best outcome at this point is (1) Qatar pulls its sh*t together, comes up with a comprehensive and reasonable plan, and throws a great WC; and (2) FIFA learns its lesson — forcibly or otherwise — and realizes that more transparency is required for the good of everybody.

        I can’t say I’m especially confident about either. But reversing the decision is a non-starter, in my view. It would be financially prohibitive — and potentially catastrophic politically. I doubt the US gov’t wants any association with this right now.

        • Ali Dia says:

          I said the first part backwards there. Oops. “far cleaner and less messy”

        • Mason says:

          “Catastrophic” to whom?

          To the US? Not hardly. To the ExCo? Possibly.

          • Ali Dia says:

            How do you think Qatar will react when this happens, particularly given what has already been spent and/or contracted? Do you think they will say “Aw Shucks”?

            What happens when Russia looks at this and says “Well, we have been doing most of those things. Matter of fact, just finished an Olympics that was wildly derided for corruption and budgetary farce. Does this mean we are next?”

            Is there a way to navigate this safely? Probably. I am not predicting WW3. But if you think the danger can’t become political… just look at the money on the table. And look at the people staring at it.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          add:

          3) pays massive reparations to Nepalese, Indian, etc. workers’ families

          4) enacts comprehensive reforms to eliminate (as best as possible) slavery and bring working conditions up to the level expected of a country with its GDP

          5) reveals explicit details of the bidding/bribing process (because I don’t see how FIFA would “learn its lesson” otherwise—unless the WC is a failure)

      • malkin says:

        Rule #1 of Economics: Sunk costs should never be considered in future business considerations.

        • Ali Dia says:

          Nice. I’ve heard about 3 million things called “Rule #1 of economics”… usually something(s) along the lines of supply/demand but this is most certainly true too…

          Care to explain why you bring it up?

          • Pat says:

            i think its brought up to say that the money that qatar and others have already invested in this mess should not be considered in decisions regarding the future of this world cup (at least economically speaking, politics are a completely different story)

          • Eric says:

            Already having spent a ton of money on something is not a good enough reason to keep spending. It may not be Rule #1, but it’s a pretty well established rule.

    • slowleftarm says:

      I’m hopeful they’ll eventually change it. Just too many potential problems.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        But do you hope that they change it to the US? I surely do not.

        Move it to Australia.

        Can’t do the Americas because Brazil ’14, though Mexico could work.

        Can’t do anywhere else in Asia (except China maybe, but really?). Japan/Korea was too recent.

        Iran could be an interesting possibility, but carries a lot of ifs.

        Europe? Maybe. Spain/Portugal had a strong bid. I still prefer Australia.

        • Turgid Jacobian says:

          Frankly if they end up pulling it, they’re rather unlikely to adhere to any rotation policy.

          Besides, Brazil was already known when the 2022 award was made, and the US was in the mix… as was Japan/SK. So what exactly would the reasoning be?

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            Granted, if FIFA makes the huge step of moving it then rotation and other policies are up in the air. I was just thinking aloud through reasons for/against different host countries.

            Not sure I understand your question though. I brought up Brazil ’14 as an argument against hosting ’22 in, for example, Argentina. I recognize that the US and Japan/Korea had bids in the recent cycle, but I doubt that Japan/Korea’s bid was truly in the running because they hosted so recently. I resist hosting ’22 in the US for political reasons.

            If FIFA move it, where would you hope it goes?

            • Turgid Jacobian says:

              Japan/SK were in the finals with US and Australia and Qatar is my point–FIFA didn’t find the prospect of Brazil in ’14 and USA or Japan in ’22 problematic.

              I would like it in the US, of course.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Except that FIFA didn’t choose USA or Japan/Korea and therefore found something about those bids problematic. I argue that one strong possibility is how recently those countries already hosted.

                Of course we don’t know what FIFA really thought, but sure in a switch from Qatar, FIFA could change its mind.

                You don’t see any problems with switching it from Qatar to USA that would make you prefer to see it in USA ’26?

              • Turgid Jacobian says:

                Sure, one could argue that. The geniuses at FIFA publicly argue that the award is about the spreading of the game, etc.

                Then they cash the checks privately.

                I would say that the execution of the Qatar bid is also revealing that what FIFA finds problematic vs meritorious is worth every bit as much as a chocolate frying pan.

                Anyway, I really don’t see the problems you reasonably pointed out above as being nearly as big a deal as the problems you invite by sticking with the award.

                What lesson are you trying to teach the ’26 bidders?

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Turgid: First, I struggle to focus after reading the words “chocolate frying pan.” Sounds delicious. I’ll take two please.

                Second, I think we agree on a lot: “I don’t see the problems…above as being nearly as big a deal as the problems you invite by sticking with the award.” Definitely agree. If my comments ever seemed to argue in favor of keeping it in Qatar then I was very unclear.

                So we agree that it would be great to move it. But where? I favor Australia in ’22, then USA in ’26. You favor USA in ’22. I just worry that USA ’22 would come with a lot of problems—that would not exist for USA ’26 or Australia ’22.

                I’m not sure about lessons I would teach the ’26 bidders. I can’t think about those unless/until FIFA’s bidding process becomes transparent. Otherwise, the only lessons to be learned are from whatever Russia and Qatar did. Ugh.

              • Jesse D says:

                King, I’ve always like the idea of Australia. I would have been happy if the US won the bid for 2022, but Australia was the bid that made the most sense. They should still get it, if they are willing to host it.

        • The Amateur says:

          “Can’t do the Americas because Brazil ’14.”

          Disagree. First of all, the Americas are split into two different continents/footballing regions.
          Second, Fifa has already held a World Cup on the same continent as a recent one (see France ’98 and Germany ’06).

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            Read my whole sentence: “Can’t do the Americas because Brazil ’14, though Mexico could work”

            How many countries in the Americas could really hope to host? Brazil, Argentina, a combo of Chile/Uruguay/etc, Mexico, USA. (Canada talked about a bid, but I find that unlikely.) I had already ruled out the US. The other SA countries lose out due to Brazil ’14. That leaves Mexico…which I mentioned.

            Second, Europe receives preferential treatment in FIFA’s rotation schedule. Thus, not a good example for hosting twice in any other continent/confederation. (And note that I recognize this when I suggest Spain/Portugal in ’22 despite Russia ’18.)

            • user222 says:

              is mexico not in the Americas??

              regardless, no way it happens in Mexico as it would be hosting the WC for a 3rd time….

              it is more probable that a country that already hosted it once would host it for a second time….

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                user222: I wrote:

                “How many countries in the Americas could really hope to host? Brazil, Argentina, a combo of Chile/Uruguay/etc, Mexico, USA.”

                Do you see how I listed Mexico as a country in the Americas? Do you see how I settled on Mexico as a possible host from the Americas?

                Thus, I cannot understand why you would challenge/mock my comment with “is mexico not in the Americas??”

            • pitch invasion says:

              I’m not sure I understand why the US would be out and Mexico would be OK. There is the question. You say Americas won’t work because of Brazil and then throw out Mexico as a possibility. OK, if Mexico is a possibility, why isn’t the US?

              • CG says:

                You need to read a couple of his posts to realize that while the US would be an option he doesn’t want it to be – so HE is eliminating the US, not any rule. Therefore, if you consider the Americas (sans USA), the South American countries are out because of Brazil, leaving only CONCACAF nations, of which, he is suggesting only Mexico would be capable of hosting (whether you agree with that or disagree)

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                pitch invasion: what CG said: “you need to read [the whole conversation].” I ruled out the US for political reasons.

                Now, had the US won ’22 from the start I would have been ecstatic. But I don’t want the first-ever Mid East country to be awarded* the WC to have it taken away and handed to the “imperialist Americans.” Very bad politics.

                _____
                * “awarded.” Cough!

  2. JayAre says:

    If they know they can’t afford it to host the tournament they better just tell FIFA instead of trying to force it. I think the financial crisis that the Olympics cost Greece should serve as a warning.

    • soccerhorn says:

      The financial crisis in Greece was decades coming. No one pays taxes. It’s a point of pride. Everyone is on some form of government support.

  3. William the Terror says:

    Okay, so now they have violated the terms of their bid and have a track record of enslaving and killing foreign workers.

    Your 2018 hosts decide it is okay to invade and annex neighboring countries.

    FIFA awards of these two World Cups are looking stellar now.

  4. bryan says:

    such BS. this is not what was in their bid. this whole thing annoys me so much.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      The blame spreads all around. It’s our fault for trusting that the artificial clouds that would cool the stadia could also be used as airborne platforms to construct the stadia cheaper and with less slave labor.

      You could tell the fix was in on this one because they awarded Qatar and Russia in one swoop — neither looks appropriate now, whatever the “financial presentations” made — and in particular awarded a desert country a summer event. I was talking earlier about the pretty MLS renderings and now teams are really coming in playing in baseball parks and football fields, and this is coming out a similar bait and switch on a grander scale.

      FIFA has to play along for a while to get out with legal CYA, but at some point they will be able to use the disparity between promise and reality, as well as some sort of voting fraud they finally prove, to move it if they want.

      • beachbum says:

        see where you’re coming from but don’t agree re. ‘trusting that artificial clouds that would cool the stadia could also be used as airborne platforms to construct the stadia cheaper, etc.”…maybe you’re joking or I do not understand, but many have always thought all of the concerns mentioned were going to be a problem including the airborne la ti da and the rest of the pie in the sky

        I hope with all that the seemingly endless events and incidents re. the Qatar bid win will finally change the process to more transparency, but I doubt it

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      I’ve already decided to boycott any companies that sponsor the WC in Qatar. I hope that other fans will see that a widespread boycott of sponsors is the only way to force FIFA’s hand. Without fans in attendance, the games could still go on. Without sponsors though, the lights go out.

    • Ali Dia says:

      The more I think about it, the more I doubt FIFA cares, and the more obvious it was from the beginning. This is likely a non-story.

      Why?

      Fact is, a World Cup in a tiny country DOESN”T NEED 12 stadiums. It would be wasteful and absurd…. they aren’t trying to spread the tourism around a bunch of cities the way most countries like to. We are all angry because we feel like we should have the tournament, but the fact is 12 first class stadiums in that tiny place is ridiculous. Better to build more hotels or parking lots. No need at all.

      Qatar bid 12 because that’s what you do in an auction. You make yourself look big and resourceful. You trot out the big guns. You impress people. Everyone does it. Only a fool would bid the minimum (8). FIFA was very likely aware and ok with it– they need bullet points to show why they chose Qatar. But I would be shocked if you could find anything binding in the docs. All we know bidding country has to do is show a plan to deliver between 8-12 stadiums, per the Bloomberg article.

      More importantly, FIFA would have NO INCENTIVE to take action. Reasons? Two big ones:

      (1) Brazil and South Africa both have had serious delays in stadium being ready on time. Same goes for Sochi. They’d rather have 8 done right and on time than 12 that make them nervous, and

      (2) The blight of event-purposed stadiums has not escaped notice. Look at all the structures that have fallen into disrepair and disuse in many places that have hosted World Cups and Olympics (Beijing is prob the best documented). Not good. The cute claim is that these structures are modular and will be given to a developing country after the event. It rarely happens (our friends in Costa Rica still had to make some political concessions to get their “gift” from the Chinese).

      Hard to say what FIFA loses here (credibility is not something they care about, FYI). My prediction? Absolutely nothing happens. Not because of this anyway. When they start messing with *actual* contracts (i.e. moving to winter, which would get TV folks up in arms), then they may be in trouble. Or when enough bodies pile up.

  5. reignman says:

    The countries that lost should consider taking litigation against FIFA. At this point what Qatar is doing is so far off from what was bid on that it’s a joke. Why bother having the bidding process if the winning country can just change all the rules after they win the hosting rights?

    • Jake says:

      Like voting for candidates and then they do whatever they want to after they get elected. Promises be damned!

    • Ali Dia says:

      Litigation…Again… expalin to me what you mean… We are going to “sue” FIFA. How? Where? Exactly how do we, for example, subpoena documents from FIFA? What if they say “Nah… no thanks”.

      This is not “Law & Order”. Wake up. Jack McCoy is not going to step in argue our case successfully in some glorious fashion because we were “wronged”. He has no standing in reality (or Switzerland or… wherever) and neither do we.

      Do you know what an “impartial” person from one of the hundreds of countries that bid on this thing probably thinks? I would suggest they probably agree with the decision. Twelve world-class stadiums in a tiny space is totally needless for a month-long, 64 game tournament. It is wasteful. Arrogant. Pointless. Eight is more than enough to service the operational need. Twelve is probably more like having too many cooks in the kitchen for such a small space. And they’d probably understand why Qatar bid 12… it’s the correct bid strategy. And you have no idea if there was a binding obligation. Neither do I and it doesn’t matter. It would be FIFA’s decision to enforce it and they have no reason to.

      Because you are one of the few people to recognize the reality that it is FIFA, and not Qatar, who is pulling the strings here, I solicit your opinion re the following proposition (and I’m def curious so please answer)

      In the hypothetical (and yes impossible) event that you were able to offer a deal in which the USA and all other FIFA members agreed to honor and entirely support the 2022 WC remaining in Qatar, including actively helping identify solutions to operational challenges… with the sole consideration being full disclosure and available documentation of the all corruption, bribery, malfeasance and other unsavory deeds related to the bid process (inlcluding immunity for non-violent involvement)… Would you take it?

      I would. In a heartbeat. It would be the best thing that could ever come of this ugly situation. I hope somebody in Qatar realizes this. Heck, I hope one of the “good guys” floats the idea, to help them save face.

      But I’m interested in your view. What do you think?

  6. Nico C. says:

    Good! Perhaps this will reduce the amount of deaths as well.

  7. Alex H says:

    South Africa managed with only 5 venues. I doubt that Qatar needs more, so I don’t think the actual tournament will be negatively impacted.

    That said, bait and switch is never a good thing, but am sure FIFA will rectify the situation and demand more bribes to make it right.

    • reignman says:

      Huh? South Africa had 10 venues didn’t they?

      • bryan says:

        definitely had 10:

        Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane, Nelspruit, Bloemfontein, Rustenburg

      • Mason says:

        Seriously… It’s like he confused the Confederations Cup and the World Cup…

    • Jack Del says:

      You’re thinking of the confederations cup maybe? The World Cup had all 10 stadiums and needed them.

    • Ali Dia says:

      FIFA doesn’t care. Fewer stadiums is in their interest, too. Still maybe a decent reason to grab some more cash though.

      • Ali Dia says:

        I would further put forward the possibility that FIFA actually suggested this. Very serious stadium delays in S. Africa and now Brazil. A mounting body count among workers. Fewer stadiums reduces the risk of both.

        Tell me… what does FIFA gain from more stadiums? Revenue…. not really… it’s the same number of games. Average capacity might actually have increased. Would be a decent argument if Qatar was huge… spreads the market out to touch all the money-rich areas maximize profit. But it is anything but huge.

        Don’t buy it? How about the strange lack of explanation from the Qatar organizers. Usually these announcements come complete with a raft of rubbish PR explanations. The “cost cutting” thing in the article came from an external analyst. The Qatar folks might be steaming– probably had to pull some contracts. But you don’t wanna miss w/ FIFA– not when you’ve done what they did.

        Anyway, there’s my thought. Have at it…

  8. Jack Del says:

    This makes me so d*mn mad.

    Come on US Soccer, break out the freaking lawyers and sue these f***** into the stone age for the myriad of contract violations.

    • James says:

      Serious question – Did anyone actually break any contracts? I assume the bid is not a binding contract. I am equally angry, I just imagine that there’s not much for anyone (US Soccer least of all) to do from a legal perspective.

      • Jack Del says:

        Bid processes almost always work in the sense that all bids are placed based on certain expectations and stipulations being met.

        Seeing as Qatar is failing to meet even the most basic of tenants (they can’t even provide the right number of stadiums), the entire bid process would legally need to be redone or the costs recouped by the other proposers.

        I bet it wouldn’t be very difficult to prove fraud on the part of Qatar–those AC stadiums were never happening.

        • Ali Dia says:

          True. But impossible to say without seeing the bid package and the specific representations made in the document. Plus, infrastructure financings almost always have remedies and cure periods– a default is in nobody’s interest and it takes a quite a high standard to trigger one. Hard to see one being hit 8 years before the final product needs to be delivered.

          But it just comes back to the basic questions… who sues who, and in what court? This is not obvious.

    • Ali Dia says:

      I share your sentiment. But it’s complicated For example…. Sue who? In what court? For what infraction/damages? It is not really clear. And even once you have identified the best answers to these questions, it’s really a moot point as far US Soccer’s lawyers are concerned– with the billions and billions at stake here we are talking about a significant international dispute and almost certainly a White House problem. And don’t look now, but the 2018 World Cup is certain to feature many of the same violations and cost-overruns… and you know who’s running that.

      • Mason says:

        Rupert Murdoch (or his successor) will sue (or threaten to) if FIFA moves WC ’22 to the winter. In the winter, the WC faces significantly more competition on TV in the US. FIFA will probably settle.

  9. Ali Dia says:

    I would say “cue up Yackety Sax” if there weren’t people dying on these things.

    I’d advocate for moving it to the USA if it weren’t for the fear that at least one among the obviously corrupt bunch of regional beneficiaries might express his anger by funneling the committed resources (money/time) to making sure the 2022 World Cup is not short on security concerns.

    I’d ask “How could this happen” if it wasn’t obvious.

    Sigh.

  10. MMV says:

    So the Qatari fools aren’t as rich as they say???? Ummm………..Just another lie from these scandalous idiots. Please move this tournament. Bigger issues are on the horizon, I feel.

  11. Shawn says:

    Disgraceful. This was a joke from the beginning. At least it’s one on Blatter. What would it take to have a competent FIFA President?

    • Ali Dia says:

      Unfortunately an incompetent doofus would probably be an improvement on the current situation. Like most major international racketeers, Blatter is no fool. But he is a conscious enabler of corruption and bribery, and this is what we get. As far as he is concerned, the WC will be viewed as a success as long as it happens in some form on the dates scheduled— everything else is temporary noise, and he know how to keep the splashback off his shirt.

    • Cavan says:

      Ironically for all his glaring faults, Blatter isn’t to blame for Qatar. He was against it and also voted against it. He’s an idiot but not so dumb as to kill the golden goose as he couldn’t live his VVIP lifestyle without a financially vibrant World Cup. Qatar 2022 threatens FIFA’s existence and he knows it and he knew it would going into it.

      Russia was won with similar corruption but at least they’re a big country with a history of hosting major sporting events. They seemed ok until this whole invading neighbors thing started.

      • Ali Dia says:

        You can’t possibly think that how Blatter votes is relevant to what he is up to. It’s an easy and noisy chip to play if you are corrupt. The fact that he disclosed it pretty much says it all. It’s the good old-fashioned “look over here and not at those six guys” Please.

        And what does he care about the golden goose? He’ll be dead by the time they figure it out… or so Joao Havelange thought…

  12. Landon Klinsmann says:

    That stadium looks like an Easter basket and FIFA is corrupt, that much we know.

  13. beto says:

    Whaaaaoooo! Stay away from this train wreck!

  14. slowleftarm says:

    I guess when you have to build magical air-conditioning clouds to hover over each stadium, it can get pretty pricey.

    • reignman says:

      I remember just laughing the first time I heard about those, they were never going to happen and it was so obvious

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      They’ve scrapped that idea. Now they’re going for something far simpler: cut up Greenland into 12—no, make that 8—pieces, tow it across the ocean, and drag it onto land next to each stadium.

      (Plan C is to construct a giant space parasol to block out the sun.)

  15. Luetchy says:

    Can they reduce it to zero?

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      Great idea! Qatar could just lease some stadia in, oh I don’t know, LA, Columbus, DC, etc. Qatar would still be the “hosts” of course, they’d just be throwing the party off-site—like renting a place for a wedding.

  16. KJ says:

    Wow, an airport is SIX years behind schedule? How is that even possible? Geez.

    • HoboMike says:

      Do you know the history of the Denver International Airport? Proposed in 1980, greenlit in 1989, opened in 1995. It was only 16 months behind schedule because they kept moving the schedule.

    • Turgid Jacobian says:

      Honestly? Since they don’t have any actual need for another one besides the future WCF, there isn’t a whole lotta urgency. Turns out if nobody wants to come to your crappy little country you don’t build out a lot of travel infrastructure

      • KJ says:

        Except that the WC is only 8 years away, so 6 years is kind of significant in that context. I know they probably don’t need it til then, but still kinda concerning.

  17. TheFrenchOne says:

    Maybe they could just build one reeeaaaallly cool stadium with turf and air conditioning, and schedule around-the-clock games? Getting teams to play the 3:00 a.m. game (getting fans to watch) surely couldn’t be any more difficult than building 12 stadiums. Because, hey, we don’t want to put Qatar out too much with this whole world cup thing…

  18. Darwin says:

    What a creepy looking stadium.

    • Benjamin C. says:

      The whole rainbow thing is fairly ironic, considering an openly homosexual person would likely be harassed and possibly arrested for even trying to enter a sports stadium in Qatar.

  19. Benjamin C. says:

    At least Qatar has a really rich soccer tradition to fall back on.

  20. Shane says:

    The best bet is to hope some journalist is able to expose all of the corruption going on with Blatter at the helm. If that happens soon then I would not be surprised to see a revote or moved to Austrailia.

  21. Oliver Wendel says:

    STOP THE CORRUPTION
    in Qatar, in FIFA, in the USA, in Mexico, everywhere on the planet..
    Teach your children to care more about life than about money.
    helping each other > competition
    feeling > showing
    being > having stuff
    it’s obvious right? preachin’ to the choir

  22. Mr. Kaplan says:

    Dan, they have reduced the “number of stadiums,” not the amount. Maybe they had to reduce the amount of time used to build such a large number of stadiums. Regardless, they will be left with a bunch of stadiums they will never use again.

    • KJ says:

      That is part of the problem with awarding World Cups to “smaller” countries, who will never possibly use those stadiums again. Yeah, going into new areas is nice and all, but spending billions on a one-time event is probably not too smart.

      • Benjamin C. says:

        Anytime you have to build things from scratch, especially something as large and complex as a brand new sports stadium, certain corporations and individuals stand to make lots and lots of money. Particularly when a nation’s laws essentially allows you to use a slave labor force to construct them. Like most people have said, corruption is the key word, and it exists at all levels in this case.

    • Threadjacked! says:

      Wow. Of all the topics you chose to start with the quantity-based grammar flaw. Did you know that in Japanese, they actually subdivide based on the shape of the object? It’s true and fascinating if [slowly fade out....]

  23. Good Jeremy says:

    As long as these are the carbon neutral stadiums that Qatar will dismantle and rebuild in developing nations, as was part of their bid, I will be happy.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Ha. Yes I wouldn’t get too excited about hearing many “carbon neutral” arguments out of the owners of the world’s 3rd largest nat gas reserve. But you also might hear a lot of it, on second thought. Take my word for it– I’ve spent a fairly successful decade working in renewable energy finance and I find myself speaking for and against natural gas in almost equal parts. It is one of the many ways through which I broke my brain permanently.

      And the keyword on the second part is “modular”: You too can have your own “modular” stadium delivered free-of-charge by a totally benign, altruistic country who will totally follow through because these bid promises are enforced by absolutely nobody at all ever. But it happens on occasion. The Costa Ricans just love theirs. There’s just this one thing we need you to do for us… ever heard of the United Nations? No? Good. I’ll walk you over. Just raise your hand when I do.

  24. blokhin says:

    Qatar: “alright, so here it goes, FIFA…we gonna play all the games in TWO, no wait, ONE stadium. We’ll play four games at the same time on 30×50 fields. The games will be 15 minutes each, because we got a six day window between sandstorm season and 150 dead migrant worker weather (that’s 110 on Fahrenheit scale), so we gotta wrap up this World Cup thing quick. So we gotta play in mid February at 4 AM local time…sound good?”

    FIFA Exco: “Of Course”

  25. blokhin says:

    Qatar: “alright, so here it goes, FIFA…we gonna play all the games in TWO, no wait, ONE stadium. We’ll play four games at the same time on 30×50 fields. The games will be 15 minutes each, because we got a six day window between sandstorm season and 150 dead migrant worker weather (that’s 110 on Fahrenheit scale), so we gotta wrap up this World Cup thing quick. So we gotta play in mid February at 4 AM local time…sound good?”

    FIFA Exco: “Of Course, sounds like a great plan. Just make sure Platini’s briefcase arrives on time”

    • Ali Dia says:

      Yeah. The second version I guess. The Platini comment added something kinda. Not really sure what… is Platini supposed to be like Blatter’s “Oddjob”? I don’t know. They are actually quite different in my view but I don’t know the guys.

      More importantly, go ahead and explain to me why you think this is Qatar’s idea and not FIFA’s ummm… “suggestion”. Nobody else seems to be willing to address this possibility. Everyone is too consumed wth rage at the b*stards who stole our World Cup (this is fair because that did probably happen). So why don’t you guys tell me… who gains the most here? Qatar? How? If they are so corrupt, more stadiums means more contracts means more opportunities to exploit.

      Are you seriously buying into the cost argument? The all-in $4bn line item for construction represents 2% of the $200 bn cost. Wow. “Gosh turns out we can only come up with $198.5 bn instead of $200 bn… gotta go to market RIGHT NOW for some reason with some lies we could disclose just as easily in a few years when you are even more stuck!!!!” Does that not seem odd to you?

      Everyone talking about breaking out the lawyers doesn’t know a thing about how this would actually work. How do you sue FIFA? How do you sue Qatar? Where? Nobody really knows the answer apparently. Switzerland? The Court for Arbitration for Sport? Sure… good luck .Sepp knows the answer to both –which is “with an army or not at all”. He’s willing to bet everything on the latter and he’s probably right.

      So tell me, you Blokhin or any of you other super smart guys who have TOTALLY sniffed this out… what is Qatar gaining from this? Or, to look at it another way… why would FIFA ever “rectify” this thing that only benefits them? Few stadium delays, and fewer worker deaths. That’s all this accomplishes, and with barely a drop of lost revenue. Do the math at all and you will see there isn’t anything close to a match congestion problem. 64 games for 240 stadium matchdays w no doubleheaders. Lame.

      Fact is reducing stadium number is a GREAT IDEA and we just hate it because we are mad and too dumb to see it was inevitable. There is zero reason to dump 12 world class venues into a shoebox of a country (yeah sure they’re “modular” and are going to some developing country… bet on that). Totally pointless and unnecessary. We are just emotional and pining for a girl who isn’t coming back.

      Angry? Tell me why! Nobody else will!

      • Annelid Gustator says:

        “Angry? Tell me why! Nobody else will!”

        “we just hate it because we are mad and too dumb to see it was inevitable. ”

        Who’s this “we” you’re bandying about? I saw it coming from the beginning.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        Ali Dia: I think people are angry because Qatar is significantly straying from what they promised/proposed in their bid. People want them to deliver on what they promised—else, why put together bids at all?

        As for costs to Qatar: I can believe that they want to cut costs and reducing the number of stadiums could be significant. First, even if cutting 4 stadiums only saves $4B, there is likely a lot of infrastructure leading to those stadiums (roads, electricity, etc.) and buildings supporting those stadiums (hotels, training facilities, etc.) that indirectly raise the cost from $4B to ???. Since non-stadium costs were already something like 95% of their proposal, I would guess that cutting 4 stadiums could add up to $20B or more in savings.

        Second, $4B is FOUR BILLION, regardless of whether or not you’re also spending one hundred gazillion. Qatar could do a lot with $4B, so why waste it? (I say this with the assumption that the ruling parties in Qatar are shrewd businessmen.)

        (Note: I’m not sure if $4B is for the cut stadiums or the total proposed for all 12 stadiums. I think the former. Looking around the web, I saw all sorts of different numbers—ranging all the way to $35B for all 12 stadiums. Whatever the actual numbers, my argument remains the same.)

        • Ali Dia says:

          I respect your position. I don’t think I’m going to get my point across but I will give it one more brief go…

          We lost at the first turn. Was there bribery? Almost certainly. I was mad, you were mad, we all were mad….But there is nothing new with this

          Fact is, this decision improves the tournament for all parties involved, including guests. They and/ or FIFA probably would’ve preferred it was bid this way in the first place, but somebody decided it needed the 12 stadiums for window dressing. Sometimes you bid a sub-optimum package because it is flashy or eye-catching. I think this is what happened.

          If you’re mad because we were jobbed in the first place, so am I. But this isn’t evidence of anything. It’s actually an improvement. It probably saves lives. Which is sad.

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            Ali Dia: I think you got your point across just fine…and I think we agree completely. You asked why people are angry. I didn’t mention the initial main reason: people are mad because of the feeling that the US was robbed. This recent news doesn’t make people mad, it just reminds them that they are mad. Sorry if my answer didn’t make that clear.

            In other words, far fewer people would be throwing a fit if, for example, Australia had won WC ’22 but now announced a scaling back on parts of their proposal. Some people would gripe (someone will always gripe), but you wouldn’t see this level of uproar.

            Taken in isolation, I agree that Qatar scaling back on their plans is a good thing. It just reminds people of all the bad things. As you point out, it’s hard to see it as a good thing when our first two thoughts are, “Oh look, more lies from the lying liars” and, “Hooray, less slave laborers!”

            • Ali Dia says:

              Fair enough. I hear you. I think I’m more or less chilled back to room termperature. Thanks for your candor– very articulate..

              Probably we should get back to whatever we are supposed to be losing our heads over today… Did Ryan Giggs sleep with John Harkes’ wife yet? Was Jozy holding the camera? I feel like I’m behind…

  26. Ian says:

    Rad rainbow flag around the stadium in the concept drawing. I wonder if the artist is trolling Qatar, knowing LGBTQ folks have no rights whatsoever there?

    • April 21st says:

      Yesterday called. He wants to know if you still have any of that bag left. I told him it sure sounds like it.

      • Ian says:

        So, what, Qatar is a bastion of liberalism in the Middle East? I must’ve missed that development.

        • Hey Hey Hey says:

          Ummm… I think the guy (or date) is saying that your suggestion of the artist trolling his employers with the stadium decor makes you sound stoned. It is a little bit over-the-top, after all, but you never know.

  27. THomas says:

    If a host country ever comes in under budget in hosting the World Cup they should be given the trophy. Because that seems harder than winning it on the field.

    • KNVB says:

      Wait… which one did you say was easier? Some American friends of ours told us to put together a 40 year plan but we can’t remember what the goal was.

      Also, sorry about the robot Jozy Altidore we exported. The real one died in a cheese fire, but our scientists told us it was a perfect match. Perhaps he was the same English broker who sold you Juan Agudelo’s work permit. LOL it’s always sunny in Utrecht hah?

      Your Pals,
      The Netherlands

  28. Brain Guy says:

    You read it here first: North Korea 2026!

  29. bbstl says:

    How in the hell can you go over budget when you are using slave labor?

  30. Mike R says:

    What a fricking joke FIFA bending over backwards to fulfill their end of the bribes from oil sheiks.
    First moving the World Cup to winter and now this crap?

    You know what country has 12 of the top 20 stadiums in the world already built and could host a World Cup in the summer ?

    USA!!!