FIFA World Cup 2022 organisers fear fans won't be able to afford travelling to Qatar if coronavirus pandemic causes recession

Organisers of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar are concerned that many fans won't be able to afford travelling to the tournament if the coronavirus pandemic causes a global recession.

The Associated Press May 20, 2020 21:37:44 IST
FIFA World Cup 2022 organisers fear fans won't be able to afford travelling to Qatar if coronavirus pandemic causes recession

Doha: Organisers of the World Cup in Qatar are concerned that many fans won't be able to afford travelling to the tournament in 2022 if the coronavirus pandemic causes a global recession.

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The tournament's official logo for the 2022 Qatar World Cup is seen on the wall of an amphitheater, in Doha, Qatar. Reuters

Many countries around the world are expected to suffer historically deep recessions as a result of the virus and the associated lockdown restrictions.

Sporting events have also been postponed, including football's European Championship that was due to start next month but has been moved until 2021.

Qatar still hopes six of its eight stadiums will be completed by the end of this year despite the COVID-19 disruption. The World Cup is scheduled to be played in November-December 2022 — rather than its usual June-July slot — which provides more time for the resumption of international travel.

“By 2022 I’m optimistic that we would overcome this pandemic as a human race collectively,” World Cup organising committee secretary general Hassan Al Thawadi said on Wednesday. “It will be one of the early opportunities for all of us to celebrate together, to engage together, to bring people together.”

Qatar is promising the World Cup will be affordable for fans but the tiny gas-rich nation has been affected by economic activity shutting down in so many countries. State-owned Qatar Airways, a World Cup sponsor, has said it will cut jobs as the global aviation industry has been largely grounded.

“There’s always the concern about the global economy and the ability of fans to be able to afford travelling and afford coming and participating and celebrating the World Cup," Al Thawadi said on a Leaders in Sport live stream.

“We are still committed to ensuring that we create a balance between an affordable World Cup... and a price range that is affordable for fans and a price range that is workable, functional for the industry, for service providers, for the supply chain that is responsible for delivering the World Cup.”

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