The FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022 was an eventful and interesting one. The Middle East country known for having one of the largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas had an interesting ride from bidding in the early stages to the series of records broken at the world cup.
Qatar occupies just about 12,000 square kilometres of space and is one of the smallest sovereign states in the world, but a rich one at that.
This year’s FIFA World Cup saw a total of 32 nations competing for the cup with 5 of these being African countries. The Qatar national team made its debut this year at the FIFA World Cup thus becoming the first host nation to make the tournament debut after Italy in 1934.
How Qatar Won The Right To Host The 2022 World Cup
The selection process by FIFA’s executive committee, saddled with voting to decide who wins such a major bid for the 2022 World Cup, was fraught with controversies.
While there have been accusations of underhanded dealings and bribing by Qatar officials to secure the votes, nothing has so far been substantiated. Other issues that have also come to the fore as to why the country shouldn’t have been allowed to host the World Cup include its treatment of migrant workers, the country’s position on women’s and LGBT rights, as well as its lack of a strong football culture.
While four countries, namely Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, and the United States, bid to host the tournament, no African country showed interest.
On the flip side, however, it is interesting to note that three African countries played crucial roles in the emergence of Qatar as the preferred host.
According to the UK newspaper The Sun, three African countries – Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria—accepted bribes to vote for Qatar’s bid.
At the end of the day, not much was substantiated, and Qatar, playing by FIFA’s own rules, secured the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup in 2018. According to The Guardian, about $200 million in public funds was spent “officially” by the country in its World Cup hosting bid.
How Africa Lost Out
This year’s World Cup saw just five African countries competing, Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, and Cameroon, but they all lost out at different stages of the tournament. Ghana had made it to the tournament at the expense of Nigeria, whom they defeated during the qualifiers. However, the Moroccan team made the continent proud with its performance.
Morocco made the continent proud as it came in fourth after losing to Croatia 2-1 in the third place play off. The Atlas Lions of Morocco’s performance is worthy of note, as it is on record that they did not concede any goals except an own goal during the group stage until they lost to the then reigning world champions France at the semi-final. They also proved to the world that countries on the continent cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand when they beat Spain to get to the semi-finals.
Economic benefits of hosting the World Cup
The World Cup tournament is a highly revenue generating event not just for the host country but for the organising body FIFA itself.
The FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022 earned a whopping $7.5 billion in revenue through four years of commercial deals
These accrued from commercial deals and broadcast rights broken down into tiers with varying levels of financial commitments. Other areas include ticket sales and marketing.
For Qatar the host country, the benefits for the country are almost obvious. Aside from the fact that for 29 days the spotlight round the globe was fixed on the country, spotlighting the Western Asian country as a viable tourist destination, here are 2 other economic benefits that accrued to the country as a direct result of hosting the 2022 World Cup.
Huge Tourism Boost
For the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022, about 3.4 million tourists visited the country. This readily provides a huge boost to the country’s tourism and short term inflow of revenue to the various players within the country’s tourism sector such as hotels, beach managers, restaurants etc.
With the influx of tourists, the country’s economy experiences a major boost. While no official figures have been released by the country’s government which by the way is an absolute monarchy, with the increased spending in food, hospitality as well as other related services, the country’s economy has definitely seen a major boost these few days.
Indeed, hosting such a huge event draws massive exposure to a country in areas such as tourism, foreign trade, job creation, and several other potentials for development.
No doubt, even though the 2022 FIFA World Cup has come and gone, Qatar as a country will continue to feel the impact for some weeks to come.
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