(WFI) Qatar 2022 organisers tell INSIDER that reports suggesting the cost of staging the World Cup will be in excess of $200 billion are misleading and inaccurate.

German financial analyst Dr Nicola Ritter told an investors’ summit in Munich last week that $169 billion would be invested in stadiums and facilities in Qatar. She claimed another $49 billion would go on transport infrastructure and $44 billion on creating the new city of Lusail, host of the 2022 final.

Nasser Al Khater, director of communications for Qatar 2022, said the Gulf state is planning to keep within its $4 billion budget to develop the 12 host stadia for the FIFA tournament. He confirms there are no changes to Qatar’s bid book plans.

Nine are being built from scratch and three existing venues renovated and expanded. All will be air-conditioned to combat the effects of the desert nation’s fierce summer heat on players and fans.

“A lot of people are confused with the country’s development plan [costs],” he said, noting that additional infrastructure costs – the new city, metro lines and airport – were part of Qatar’s growth strategy.

“These are not projects for the World Cup. They have been in the pipeline and would have gone ahead regardless of whether we won [2022 hosting rights] or not.

“Qatar is in such an early phase of its development… we are able to shape our World Cup plans and stadia development according to infrastructure plans already going ahead.”

In the months since Qatar shocked the world to secure 2022 hosting rights last December, the Gulf state’s tournament preparations have been taking shape.

The Supreme Committee of Qatar 2022, the government body with oversight of venue and infrastructure developments for the World Cup and of the local organising committee, was set up in the spring.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin al-Thani, who served as bid chairman is managing director of the committee, with former bid CEO Hassan al-Thawadi the secretary-general of the tournament’s

Former bid chairman Sheikh Mohammed Bin al-Thani is MD of the Supreme Committee of Qatar 2022 (Getty)

supreme council.

Early work on the World Cup has focused on “making sure we have rigorous policies and procedures and all bylaws in place to make sure we deliver what we need to deliver,” Al Khater said.

Six multinationals are part of the tender process to appoint a programme manager for the Qatar 2022 project. They will be tasked with assembling a masterplan for construction of all the stadia as well as aiding detailed architectural designs that will ultimately include some sophisticated air-conditioning technology. Project managers for each individual stadium scheme will also be recruited.

Al Khater said the programme manager would be announced before the end of the year.

The former head of the bid’s communication team, told INSIDER that plenty more people from the bid set-up are transitioning to the Supreme Committee of Qatar 2022.

Another important position to be filled shortly is head of the technical team, who he said will be tasked with “working with the programme manager in delivering the masterplan and writing the road map from now untill 2022”.

Other milestones between now and the end of December include the launch of a website for the Supreme Committee of Qatar 2022 and a new corporate identity for the state entity.

Meanwhile, Al Khater said the 2022 organisers were right behind the Doha 2020 Olympic bid campaign.

The Qatari capital is bidding for a second time after failing to make the IOC shortlist for the 2016 Olympics won by Rio de Janeiro two years ago.

“Just as we had phenomenal support from the country for our bid, we need to make sure the whole country is solidly behind the Olympic bid,” he said.

“We are going to be providing whatever support and help that we can.”

If Doha should succeed when the IOC votes on the 2020 host city in two years time, there would be some impact on Qatar 2022 preparations. But Al Khater insisted the country would be well prepared to deliver the two mega-events.

“We will have to be working closely together so efficiencies are used to the maximum and to make sure everything is coordinated and streamlined,” he added.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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