The prospects of Qatar hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup is now in doubt after its neighbouring countries broke off all the diplomatic relations and barricaded its border. After Qatar being accused of being a major funder for terrorist organisations, Saudi Arabia, United States Emirates and Bahrain have closed the only land route into the peninsula and have refused to allow the use of their sea-ports of airspace.
The million dollar preparation to host the 2022 tournament, which involves nine stadiums and huge infrastructure is out into the light by local reports. The border with Saudi Arabia is the only route that connects the Gulf state to the mainland. Qatar relies heavily on its sea ports for its materials and the blockade of airspace is a heavy setback to its airlines: Qatar Airways.
The tournament was already moved to November and December of 2022 due to extreme heat waves during summer. FIFA said Monday that it was “in regular contact” with the Qatari organising committee but did not address questions about how the diplomatic break might affect the tournament.
Local reports suggest the level of panic in the country is rising so much that the local population is being encouraged to stock up on food.
Those responsible for building the 2022 World Cup facilities, the “supreme committee”, didn’t issue a public statement but a source told the Guardian that the crisis is greater than any of the challenges Qatar faced since winning the vote to host the tournament.
Qatar released a statement in response to the blockade denying accusations that it supports global terror networks saying, “The state of Qatar has been subjected to a campaign of lies that have reached the point of complete fabrication. It reveals a hidden plan to undermine the state of Qatar.”
The English Football Association didn’t comment on the developing crisis but the German Football Association’s president Reinhard Grindel said “The football community worldwide should agree that major tournaments should not be played in countries that actively support terror.”
Qatar’s national team are still involved in the qualifying competition for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and are bottom of their group with four points from seven games, with matches against South Korea, Syria, and China still to play.
There is a very remote chance they could still finish third in the group and qualify for a playoff match against the team that finishes third in the other Asian qualifying group, with both Saudi Arabia and the UAE among potential opponents.
This year it is organising 72 events, 39 of which will be international competitions.
It has already hosted the 10th Artistic Gymnastics World Cup and an IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting, and a FINA Swimming World Cup is scheduled for September.Swimming governing body FINA did not respond to requests for a comment on Monday as to whether it would still go ahead.
Top-level modern pentathlon, sailing, squash and show jumping are also scheduled for later in the year when temperatures cool.