As you already know, Qatar is predicted to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022 – not during the summer, but most probably during the winter, as foreseen climate conditions have not been in favor of Qatar given the extreme summer temperatures. For several months now an evaluation has been taking place, examining wether or not Qatar really is a suitable location for such an “outdoorsy” event.
Nevertheless, the Qataris have been in top gear, preparing for the World Cup like there was no tomorrow, investing billions of dollars in something that might not even happen. A large portion of their investments are being thrown at Lusail City – the world’s first and probably only World Cup city where the finals will be held. Now I know it sounds crazy, but if it weren’t for the oil-rich Arabs, I would never have believed it.
Lusail City is a huge planned community which is estimated to be completed by 2020, costing an astonishing $45 billion. This football paradise will accommodate two golf courses, a theme park, a lagoon and of course, two marinas. In fact it’s so massive, it will contain a total of 19 different districts and 22 different hotels which will accommodate 450,000 fans – all crammed up in the 38-square-mile-city. Though don’t forget that, just like the 2022 World Cup, Lusail is a project in progress which kicked off in 2005.
So who’s funding this? Qatari Diar, the government’s private real estate company who claims it’s “more than just another development, it is a self-contained and comprehensively planned city signifying Qatar’s progress on a grand scale.”
Though we are still about eight years from the tournament, overwhelming negativity has already been gathering momentum, emphasizing on Qatar’s unsuitable and extreme climate. Stripping Qatar of the tournament seems to be what everybody is talking about, and FIFA’s president stating that it was a vital “mistake,” isn’t really making the situation any better. And to top it all off, FIFA was recently accused of bribery surrounding the 2010 bidding process which awarded Qatar the tournament, something that is going to remain within closed doors, though FIFA’s acknowledgment of their “mistake” speaks volumes for itself – they maybe shouldn’t have taken that money after all.
Now moving the tournament to winter might not sound like such a bad idea, actually, it may even sound like a brilliant idea! But here is the thing; moving the World Cup into the winter season will highly damage the world’s top football leagues, stripping them from their best players and risking losing huge revenue if they’re forced to all of a sudden take a three months break in the middle of the season. But Qatar understood the domestic implication of a winter-seasoned World Cup and therefore implemented space-age cooling systems in their stadiums. It all sounds very cool, cooling an entire stadium, though this has yet to be proven, and allowing the players and the fans to stand under the 45 degrees Celsius heat would be highly unsafe.
Just like Dubai, Lusail’s main goal is to show the world that Qatar is in fact an advanced and modern society, capable of the most extraordinary things. I mean let’s be honest here, who has the balls to build a 450,000-person city inside 250,000 people nation? They’re making a big fat statement here, shifting the world’s attention to this small peninsula for the big 2022 – for a month.
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