Artist impression of a stadium planned for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Courtesy HH Vision
Artist impression of a stadium planned for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Courtesy HH Vision

Scandal clouds Qatar World Cup



The Fifa bribery scandal has heightened controversy surrounding Qatar's winning bid to host the 2022 World Cup, and with it concerns surrounding up to US$10 billion (Dh36.73bn) worth of investment and development contracts in the country.

Qatar's bid team outlined $77bn of spending on infrastructure to support the World Cup before it was named the host last year, but analysts say most of that money is earmarked for development projects that are going ahead independently of it.

Small item for big spender Qatar’s US$645.5 million (Dh2.37 billion) budget to host the Fifa World Cup is only the tip of iceberg. The GCC country is counting on the tournament in 2022 to spark a wide range of construction projects.

Stadiums Projected cost: $3bn

Tourism Projected cost: $17bn

Metro/Rail System Projected cost: $24bn

Roads Projected cost: $20bn

Airport Projected cost: $3bn

Total: $77bn

Source: 2022 World Cup bid report

They estimate that about $5bn to $10bn of development is contingent directly on football's biggest tournament, money that will go towards stadiums and hotels for anticipated legions of visitors.

While they are significant in scale, those are investments that the country could afford to lose given its small population and tiny tourism industry, said Farouk Soussa, the chief economist for the region at Citi.

"We've argued that there's little economic benefit in hosting the World Cup in Qatar," Mr Soussa said.

A big question for Qatar's World Cup bid was whether it really needed the 84,000 hotel rooms outlined in the country's bid report, according to a property analyst who asked not to be identified. Qatar currently has about 9,000 hotel rooms.

"To keep those rooms viable, they need to do much more to grow a sustainable tourism industry, and there is a question on whether that is necessary," the analyst said, while playing down the notion that the World Cup was of critical significance for the country's economic development.

"The World Cup itself is beneficial for the month it happens and as a stimulus for making infrastructure investment, hotel investment and improving the offering, but it's not going to be the overall solution," Mr Soussa said.

Fifa decided on Sunday to suspend Qatar's Mohammed bin Hammam, the head of the Asian Football Confederation, pending a full investigation into allegations of bribery involving his bid to replace Sepp Blatter as the head of world football's governing body.

Mr bin Hammam was not directly involved in Qatar's World Cup bid and he said yesterday he would appeal against the suspension.

The suspension comes just days after the GCC country's bid committee rejected claims of wrongdoing made in the British parliament.

"Since participating and succeeding in the bidding process, the bid committee has been subject to a variety of serious allegations.

"However, none of these allegations has ever been substantiated. Indeed, they have all been false," the Qatar bid committee said.

The main risk for Qatar springing from the cloud of allegations was perceptional, Mr Soussa said. Markets have already reacted negatively to Mr bin Hammam's suspension, with Qatar's main market index falling slightly by 0.24 per cent yesterday.

But Sebastien Henin, a portfolio manager at The National Investor in Abu Dhabi, said even the potential impact on markets was minimal. Qatari stocks are thinly traded, he said, adding that the World Cup effect had perhaps been overestimated.

"We saw a lot of figures after the World Cup announcement, but 70 or 80 per cent of this spending was already in the pipeline," he said.

The Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke further fanned the flames of controversy yesterday when he confirmed the veracity of an e-mail he had sent to the vice president Jack Warner, who is also facing bribery charges, suggesting the 2022 World Cup was "bought" by Qatar.

"It was a private e-mail and we will discuss it.

"He sent me an e-mail asking if I want that [Mr bin Hammam to run], he said that I should ask Mr bin Hammam to pull out," Mr Valcke said in Zurich yesterday.

His comments came after an Australian politician urged his country's government to ask for a refund from Fifa after it spent A$46 million (Dh180.7m) on a failed bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

Nick Xenophon, an independent politician, said the bid could not succeed because of the corruption allegations within the organisation.

It is still unclear whether the investigations and allegations will affect Qatar's bid to host the World Cup.

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

TWISTERS

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

Dunki

Director: Rajkumar Hirani 

Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Vikram Kochhar and Anil Grover

Rating: 4/5

The specs: 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Price, base / as tested: Dh101,140 / Dh113,800


Engine: Turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder


Power: 148hp @ 5,500rpm


Torque: 250Nm @ 2,000rpm


Transmission: Eight-speed CVT


Fuel consumption, combined: 7.0L / 100km

Your rights as an employee

The government has taken an increasingly tough line against companies that fail to pay employees on time. Three years ago, the Cabinet passed a decree allowing the government to halt the granting of work permits to companies with wage backlogs.

The new measures passed by the Cabinet in 2016 were an update to the Wage Protection System, which is in place to track whether a company pays its employees on time or not.

If wages are 10 days late, the new measures kick in and the company is alerted it is in breach of labour rules. If wages remain unpaid for a total of 16 days, the authorities can cancel work permits, effectively shutting off operations. Fines of up to Dh5,000 per unpaid employee follow after 60 days.

Despite those measures, late payments remain an issue, particularly in the construction sector. Smaller contractors, such as electrical, plumbing and fit-out businesses, often blame the bigger companies that hire them for wages being late.

The authorities have urged employees to report their companies at the labour ministry or Tawafuq service centres — there are 15 in Abu Dhabi.

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

PRO BASH

Thursday’s fixtures

6pm: Hyderabad Nawabs v Pakhtoon Warriors

10pm: Lahore Sikandars v Pakhtoon Blasters

Teams

Chennai Knights, Lahore Sikandars, Pakhtoon Blasters, Abu Dhabi Stars, Abu Dhabi Dragons, Pakhtoon Warriors and Hyderabad Nawabs.

Squad rules

All teams consist of 15-player squads that include those contracted in the diamond (3), platinum (2) and gold (2) categories, plus eight free to sign team members.

Tournament rules

The matches are of 25 over-a-side with an 8-over power play in which only two fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle. Teams play in a single round robin league followed by the semi-finals and final. The league toppers will feature in the semi-final eliminator.

TV (UAE time);

OSN Sports: from 10am

THE BIO

Favourite place to go to in the UAE: The desert sand dunes, just after some rain

Who inspires you: Anybody with new and smart ideas, challenging questions, an open mind and a positive attitude

Where would you like to retire: Most probably in my home country, Hungary, but with frequent returns to the UAE

Favorite book: A book by Transilvanian author, Albert Wass, entitled ‘Sword and Reap’ (Kard es Kasza) - not really known internationally

Favourite subjects in school: Mathematics and science

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

ICC Awards for 2021+

MEN

Cricketer of the Year+– Shaheen Afridi+(Pakistan)

T20 Cricketer of the Year+– Mohammad Rizwan+(Pakistan)

ODI Cricketer of the Year+– Babar Azam+(Pakistan)

Test Cricketer of the Year+– Joe Root+(England)

WOMEN

Cricketer of the Year+– Smriti Mandhana+(India)

ODI Cricketer of the Year+– Lizelle Lee+(South Africa)

T20 Cricketer of the Year+– Tammy Beaumont+(England)

The specs

Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six

Power: 650hp at 6,750rpm

Torque: 800Nm from 2,500-4,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto

Fuel consumption: 11.12L/100km

Price: From Dh796,600

On sale: now

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.