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Qatar football projects will bring regional benefits

Qatars successful bid to host the Fifa World Cup in 2022 is set to launch a construction boom involving investments by Doha worth between US$60 billion and US$72.5 billion, according to some estimates.

Standard Chartered Bank estimates that Qatar will spend up to US$72.5 billion on infrastructure projects in the next five years. "We are positive on the longer-term outlook for infrastructure investment [in Qatar]. The government plans to spend close to US$20 billion on new roads and transport infrastructure over the next five years, and a US$36 billion metro system is in the pipeline over the longer term.

Qatar is also building an US$11 billion airport and a US$5.5 billion deepwater seaport," said the Standard Chartered Bank report. Rohit Walia, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of Bank Sarasin-Alpen Group and Alpen Capital Group, told Gulf News: "The World Cup is expected to create many opportunities but especially for the banking and construction sectors which would be the main beneficiaries of the infrastructure requirements of the World Cup."

"However, an improved perception of the region overseas is likely to be positive for the whole market."

The road improvement and expansion programme will include the US$687mn Lusail Expressway, Doha Expressway, Dukhan Freeway and the Doha Bay Crossing. Iftekhar Ahmad, Chief Financial Officer of Doha-based Ali Bin Ali Group, told Gulf News: "It is not only good news for the country, but for the entire region. "It will help reinforce investor confidence in the region. With this, Fifa has shown confidence in Qatar's ability to host such a huge event."

"We expect a lot of construction activities to kick off in 2012-13, especially the infrastructure and sporting facilities that will have a major impact on economic activities."

However, in a detailed analysis of the impact of Qatar's World Cup success on the country, the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) estimates that projects worth as much as US$60 billion that were on the drawing board, will now go ahead.

These include a US$4 billion stadium building programme that will see the construction of nine new eco-friendly football stadiums and the expansion of three existing stadiums. The stadium programme includes the construction of the 86,000-seat Lusail Stadium, which will host the tournament's opening and final matches.

Other new stadiums will be: Al Wakrah Stadium, Al Khor Stadium, Education City Stadium, Sports City Stadium, Al Shamal Stadium, Doha Port Stadium, Qatar University Stadium and Umm Sal Stadium. The existing Al Rayyan, Al Gharafa and Khalifa stadiums will be upgraded.

"Additionally, Qatar will build over 80,000 new hotel rooms by 2022, 10,000 to 15,000 of which will be ready by the end of 2010. This comes as the country's answer to Fifa's requirement that the host country should have a 60,000-room capacity," MEED said.