Fifa and Qatar have announced the formation of a joint venture that will be responsible for the planning and delivery of the 2022 World Cup.
The new entity, known as Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC, is 51-per-cent owned by Fifa and 49 per cent by the local organising committee.
In a statement, Fifa claimed that the creation of the joint venture – the first time Fifa has entered into such a relationship with a local organising committee – would help fulfil the organisation’s objective “to create an innovative model that streamlines the operational delivery of the World Cup”.
The joint venture is set to focus on the event delivery, while Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy will continue to manage the development of the new infrastructure as well as the tournament’s various legacy programmes.
The move gives Fifa a greater measure of control over the delivery of its own event, and may pave the way for greater changes to the tournament’s format. Fifa president Gianni Infantino has previously suggested that Qatar could “share” the World Cup with its neighbours – despite the fact that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have all severed diplomatic relations with the country – in order to facilitate the competition’s expansion to 48 teams.
Colin Smith, Fifa’s chief tournaments and events officer, has been named as the managing director of Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC. Smith explained that the joint venture was necessary because of the “opportunities and challenges” of planning a World Cup in Qatar, although he appeared to signal that Fifa may look to create similar ventures for future tournaments.
“The continuous growth and complexities of a Fifa World Cup and the need for integrated involvement of all key areas across a host country has made it clear that a more efficient and optimised operational structure is required,” Smith said.
The announcement comes on the same day that Amnesty International warned Qatar that it is “running out of time” to implement labour reforms affecting the 30,000 migrants working on the World Cup delivery. The country has been accused of widespread and serious labour abuses.