World Cup in numbers: A tournament to spend them all

The 2022 World Cup will be the most compact in history, staged in the smallest host country ever. But by most other measures, Qatar’s soccer extravaganza will surpass any previous World Cup. FRANCE 24 takes a look at a tournament unlike any other, in 10 key figures.

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To 220 billion euros, according to to finance consultancy Front Office Sport, the 2022 World Cup will have cost five times more than the last seven tournaments combined. The total expenditure beats the record previously held by Brazil’s 2014 FIFA World Cup, which cost 15 million euros.

The tiny emirate built six brand new stadiums, each with ultra-modern air conditioning systems to protect fans and players from the heat. The 60,000-seater Al Bayt stadium alone will have cost €3 billion, more than three times the cost of the Stade de France near Paris, built for the 1998 World Cup.

Lusail Stadium, an 80,000-capacity venue on the outskirts of Qatar’s capital Doha, will host the FIFA World Cup final in December 2022. © Mustafa Abumunes, AFP

In addition to the stadiums, Qatar embarked on massive infrastructure projects, building an airport, three metro lines and a brand new city, Lusai, complete with hotels, golf courses and a luxury marina. These massive infrastructure projects are excluded from the emirate’s own assessment of the tournament’s total cost.

All World Cup venues are located within a radius of 55 kilometers around the capital Doha. That was a key argument from Qatar’s bid: to organize a compact event where all facilities are easily accessible. Thus, Khalifa International and Education City stadiums are only five kilometers apart.

Stadium 974 is named after the number of recycled shipping containers used to build it. With a capacity of 40,000, the stadium will be dismantled after the World Cup and reassembled to host sporting events elsewhere, although its next destination remains unknown.

Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.

The 40,000-seat stadium is made from shipping containers. The goal is for the arena to be dismantled and reassembled at a new location after the tournament.

— Football Tweet  (@Football__Tweet) November 4, 2022

A total of 3.2 million tickets have been made available for the tournament, a third of which are allocated to sponsors and carriers. According to FIFA figures, ticket sales had reached 2.89 million tickets on 17 October. The countries that bought the largest number are, in descending order, Qatar, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, France, Brazil and Germany.

As of mid-October, Qatari officials said they had received between 1.5 million and 1.7 million applications for Hayya (“Welcome”) cards, which are required to access stadiums and free public transport. While the number is lower than the 3 million spectators recorded at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, it remains a huge logistical challenge for tiny Qatar, with a population of just 3 million.

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Lack of accommodation in Qatar means a total of 168 shuttle flights will transport fans from neighboring countries every day during the World Cup. They include 60 daily flights from Dubai, 48 from Muscat (Oman), 40 from Riyadh and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and 20 from Kuwait City. Meanwhile, Air France will temporarily resume flights from Paris to Doha for the first time in 27 years, with 3 to 6 flights per week.

French fans hoping to attend the defending champions’ games will have to shell out an estimated €6,000 to cover transport, accommodation and ticket costs, according to to the association Football Supporters Europe. That’s two to three times the budget for the last World Cup in Russia.

Qatar will ultimately profit from hosting an event watched by millions around the world, to the tune of $9 billion (€8.7 billion), according to to the tournament organizers. The figure is based on Qatar’s own assessment of the cost of staging the event, which is significantly lower than the €220 million put forward by Front Office Sport. According to the organizers of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the tournament injected €12.5 billion into the Russian economy between 2013 and 2018, equivalent to 1% of the county’s GDP.

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Qatar’s World Cup will pump up to 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, according to a June 2021 FIFA report, up from 2.1 million tonnes for the 2018 tournament. But NGOs say the figure is almost certainly an underestimate.

More than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the 2010 World Cup, according to a Guardian investigation based on data from the workers’ countries of origin. Qatari officials have dismissed the damning report by the British newspaper as “misleading”.

45:15 Are World Cup hosts “washing” their reputations? © France 24

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