Sepp Blatter’s announcement that he is to quit as FIFA president has increased the uncertainty surrounding the 2022 World Cup being staged in Qatar.
A Swiss criminal investigation is taking place into the bidding process for the 2022 finals as well as the 2018 tournament to be held in Russia, while the report by FIFA’s ethics investigator Michael Garcia has still to be published.
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said Qatar World Cup organisers “may not sleep very well” following Blatter’s announcement, but shares on Qatar’s QE Index recovered after an early fall.
Former British FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce told the BBC: “If there is corruption and it is proven I feel FIFA has got to show leadership.”
Qatar plans to spend around £150bn on infrastructure in the run-up to hosting the World Cup.
“The ultimate long-term story is very much intact for Qatar,” Saleem Khokhar, the head of equities at National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC’s asset management group told Bloombery. “Regardless of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar will be spending a lot on infrastructure and its economic growth outlook remains solid.”
FIFA announced in March that the World Cup in Qatar will be played in November and December 2022 to avoid the fierce heat of the summer, a decision that led to furious reaction from clubs and leagues.
Dyke’s comments did not go down well in Qatar.
The president of the Qatar Football Association, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al-Thani, said in a statement: “We welcome the office of the Swiss attorney general conducting its own work into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
“We would urge Mr Dyke to let the legal process take its course and concentrate on delivering his promise to build an England team capable of winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.”