While there are concerns coronavirus may cause a global recession, organisers of the World Cup in Qatar said they are optimistic that the pandemic will be beaten and promised an “affordable” experience for fans.
Many countries around the world are expected to suffer historically deep recessions as a result of the virus and the associated lockdown restrictions.
Major sporting events have already been postponed, including the Summer Olympic Games in Japan and football’s European Championship that was due to start next month but has also been moved until 2021.
“By 2022, I’m optimistic that we would overcome this pandemic as a human race collectively,” World Cup organising committee Secretary-General Hassan al-Thawadi said on Wednesday.
“It will be one of the early opportunities for all of us to celebrate together, to engage together, to bring people together.”
Qatar still hopes six of its eight stadiums will be completed by the end of this year despite the COVID-19 disruption. The World Cup is scheduled to be played in November-December 2022 rather than its usual June-July slot, which provides more time for the resumption of international travel.
Qatar has promised the World Cup will be affordable for fans, but the tiny gas-rich nation has been affected by the decrease in economic activity around the globe.
“There’s always the concern about the global economy and the ability of fans to be able to afford travelling and afford coming and participating and celebrating the World Cup,” al-Thawadi said on a Leaders in Sport live stream.
“We are still committed to ensuring that we create a balance between an affordable World Cup … and a price range that is affordable for fans and a price range that is workable, functional for the industry, for service providers, for the supply chain that is responsible for delivering the World Cup.”