The tournament in Qatar goes straight to the home ground with the quarter-finals, 56 of 64 matches have already been played. It’s time to take stock and look ahead.
The saxophonist is a bit lost on the Corniche. Not much is happening on Doha’s coastline tonight. On the other side of the bay, the glittering facades of high-rise buildings sparkle. In this environment, the man plays his instrument. Almost no one listens to him. An evening without football, shortly before the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Although the last eight of 64 matches have been played, the melancholy landscape already gives an idea of the aftermath of the tournament in Qatar. The city is already emptying.
Manuel Neuer still greets you from a front
24 of 32 national teams said goodbye. The German election was once again particularly early. Only Manuel Neuer remained, at least as a photograph. This covers the entire high-rise building facade. The 36-year-old goalkeeper has the word “talent” next to him.
So what’s left of this World Cup in the desert when it’s all over in a little over a week? From the first World Cup in an Arab country where the weather was better than expected. First of all it is very peaceful. This is probably also because alcohol didn’t play much of a role this time around. What causes a protest in some places also has its benefits. And otherwise?
FIFA President Gianni Infantino had previously said it would be “the best World Cup in history” and “the greatest show in the world”. It doesn’t mention who’s paying for this show and paying for it. The number of deaths among guest workers remains unclear and has fluctuated from three to over 15,000 since the most scandalous World Cup award in 2010, depending on source and definition.
Costs in excess of $220 billion
What is true, what can be believed and what cannot be believed? These questions are a constant companion in this tournament. This also applies to monetary costs. Officially speaking about US$50 billion, unofficial estimates assume investment has more than quadrupled. In any case, it’s by far the most expensive World Cup in history.
Stadiums, subways and other World Cup infrastructures were built by low-paid people from Asia and Africa. Since August 2020, the official minimum wage in Qatar has been 1,000 riyals per month, which currently amounts to around 261 euros. There was no minimum wage in the past.
World Cup over for three of eight arenas
So what will be left of this controversial and politically charged World Cup, whose debates are also illuminating for those who want to stand out morally? In any case, most stadiums will remain, cooled for matches by heavy use of air conditioning.
Some of the eight stadiums will be dismantled after the tournament. The three arenas have already surpassed all World Cup matches. Including the 974 Stadium, where 974 shipping containers were installed.
Qatar’s Olympic plans
It should serve as a symbol of what is said to be the most enduring World Cup in history. It was said that after the tournament it would be dismantled and rebuilt elsewhere in the world. However, no buyers have been found yet. Meanwhile, Qatar already has big new plans. According to media reports, this included re-applicants to the Olympic Games after two failed attempts. It should be the 2036 Summer Games.
Runners knocked down at the 2019 World Cup
However, due to the heat, these would probably have to be moved at least into the fall. When the World Championships in Athletics were held in Doha in the fall of 2019, more than a third of marathon runners gave up and some even collapsed. Due to the air conditioning, this did not happen in architecturally impressive stadiums.
But these, like so many things at this World Cup, are just looks or a mirage. This is true even for the saxophonist. He’s not a street musician, but he was hired.
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