Qatar: No ‘white elephant’ legacy for World Cup stadiums
JEDDAH: Qatar’s foreign minister says the country has no plans to build “white elephant” stadiums for the 2022 World Cup.
The 2022 World Cup, the first World Cup in Asia in decades, is due to be held in Qatar during what will be the Gulf nation’s first big-ticket international event since the country hosted the 2014 Asian Games.
Qatar’s government was keen to convince investors to come to Qatar when it first announced plans for the World Cup in December 2010.
However, it seems that Qatar has not been as successful as expected in attracting investors for their plans.
The decision to move the tournament to a relatively small country with vast oil resources was criticised by many, but now that the tournament is here, the foreign ministers of the 32 other host countries have welcomed Qatar’s decision to move the tournament to the Gulf state, and the vast majority of them have said that their countries will not be built for a potential “white elephant” like a new stadium.
“We have no plans to build white elephant stadiums in our countries for the 2022 World Cup,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani’s special envoy for the World Cup, Ali Gharabani, said on Monday.
There has been much speculation surrounding the World Cup in Qatar because this small country is so close to its larger neighbour, Saudi Arabia. The tournament is scheduled to be held in the same month as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and will affect the oil and gas sector, both of which are considered sensitive for Saudi Arabia.
Qatar’s decision to move the World Cup has been welcomed by key diplomatic allies in the Arab world, particularly the UAE.
The UAE will host the tournament with no new venues being built.
Gharabani told a news conference, held in the run up to the start of the World Cup, that the decision to move the tournament was “a very positive step” for Qatar and other countries which