FIFA is considering a proposal for expanding the 2022 football tournament to 48 teams from the current 32 teams. This increase can actually be a major risk for Qatar’s wish to become the first Arab host of the World Cup.
As things stand, Qatar has already become the subject of intense scrutiny. There have been several allegations of corruption as well as immense human rights abuses. However, the impact of those issues is nothing compared to the pressure Qatar can face because of this decision by FIFA.
According to some experts, FIFA’s proposal is one of the biggest threats to Qatar hosting the tournament. If implemented, Qatar would be forced to share the tournament with another country. The very act of sharing the hosting duties of such a prestigious tournament will be considered as a defeat for the Qatari government.
So far, progress in Qatar has been proceeding as expected. By the end of 2018, Qatar will have completed the construction of 3 of the 8 stadiums for the World Cup. This includes the stadium which will be used for the final, Lusail.
Qatar is spending a massive amount of $500 million every week on getting the infrastructure ready. This includes new roads, hotels and even new towns. A metro system is also coming up worth $36 billion which is set to open in 2019.
There is an ongoing Swiss investigation into the controversy surrounding Qatar’s winning bid for the 2022 tournament.
FIFA is supposed to convene at a congress on 13th June in Moscow where they will be deciding if the number of teams participating in the 2022 tournament should be increased.
If they do increase, this will put immense pressure on Qatar. Qatar will have to massively expand their workload within an extremely tight deadline. The increased number of teams will have a major impact in Qatar’s ability to be the host of the tournament.
It is also important to note that Qatar had initially bid to create 12 stadiums. However, it is building only 8.
Additionally, there have been several questions about Qatar’s ability to ensure even a moderately successful event of this scale. As things stand, the country has no infrastructure whatsoever to accommodate 1.5 million fans that are expected to visit. This number is to increase if more teams are added.