Qatar blockade puts 2022 World Cup under threat

Qatar world cup stadium modelThe very real possibility of Qatar facing a long-term blockade of its sea and land routes – and therefore of its ability to import building materials – could “wreak havoc on the timeline and delivery” of the stadia currently under construction for the 2022 World Cup.
The warning, from Kristian Ulrichsen at the US-based Baker Institute, reflects growing concern at the economic impact of a number of Qatar’s neighbours’ decisions to break off diplomatic relations with Doha, which stands accused of funding terrorism in the region. Saudi Arabia has also closed the only land route into the Qatari peninsula and the the UAE and Bahrain have and are refusing to allow the use of their sea ports or airspace. 
The future of the World Cup, that was controversially awarded to Qatar seven years ago, has not been the immediate concern of its inhabitants since ties were cut earlier this week, with reports emerging of anxious locals stockpiling food; but with the border with Saudi Arabia the only road route into the country there is a real possibility that the blockade could seriously disrupt the supply of building materials required for the construction of nine stadia and several related infrastructure projects.
Already one of the highest per capita consumers of building materials, a report published in March by BMI Research forecasts that Qatari demand for cement is set to grow by 4% in the run-up to the World Cup, with demand for other primary materials including bitumen, aggregated and washed sand also expected to strengthen. Demand for imported steel and iron products – worth a total of $1.8bn in 2015 – are also expected to grow. 
“Given the hard deadline of the FIFA 2022 World Cup, delays to major projects stemming from the unavailability of building materials will prove untenable,” the report predicted, “making the smooth functioning of Qatar’s construction market a top government priority.” 
Just how the authorities in Doha react to recent developments remains to be seen, but, while the “supreme committee” responsible for building the facilities have not issued a public statement, a source this week acknowledged that the gravity of the crisis is the greatest it has faced since winning the vote in 2010 from Fifa’s now discredited executive committee. The tournament has been switched to the winter to avoid searing summer temperatures; a series of investigations has been held into strongly denied corruption allegations; and there has been worldwide criticism of the country’s treatment of its migrant construction workers.

Source: theguardian