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Blockade risk to Qatar World Cup

January 8, 2018

By Chris Forrester

Satellite-generated images of the Qatar football sites being built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup show very little progress being made on the new stadium construction sites.

A report in Business Insider, and using satellite analysis by Glasgow-based technology company Bird.i of Digital Globe images, shows high-altitude photographs of the eight stadia under construction in Qatar.  The report states that many of the sites show that construction appears to be on hold, and questions the realism of holding the global event in Qatar.

The problem is that total blockade of Qatar by a Saudi Arabian-led coalition, which includes Qatar’s near-neighbours (the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as Egypt), and the restriction on the export of materials to Qatar. There is also a ban on diplomatic and cultural travel into Qatar.

Qatar’s total imports are said by Business Insider to be down 40 per cent compared with 2016.

One site (Ras Abu Abboid) is said not yet to have started construction at all, despite being scheduled for completion in 2020.  The only fully-built stadium is that of the Khalifa International Stadium.

In November 2017, The Guardian newspaper reported that a senior FIFA official received a $1 million bribe in order to vote for Qatar to secure the 2022 championship. The report follows numerous allegations of bribery amongst FIFA officials over the Qatar decision.

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