Qatar 2022 Cost: The Most Expensive World Cup In History

And fans will still need to stay in tents or shipping containers.

Image: Al Jazeera

Qatar have reportedly spent as much as $220 billion (AU $325.6 billion) on this year’s World Cup, making it the most expensive in history and almost 15 times higher than the next dearest.


From the minute Qatar bribed officials to be awarded the controversial 2022 FIFA World Cup, they were clearly willing to spend a significant amount of money on the tournament.

To put the $220 billion figure in perspective, that is enough to pay for Australia’s defence spending for the next six and a half years.

According to Front Office Sports, the next most expensive World Cup was Brazil in 2014, which cost $15 billion (AU $22.2 billion), followed by Russia in 2018 which cost 11.6 billion (AU $17.1 billion).

One would imagine the majority of the gargantuan figure would go towards building the seven new stadiums that were needed to accommodate the games, but this is not the case. Less than $10 billion is going towards this.

According to other sources, the rest of the money was spent on transportation, hospitality, telecommunications and security. $36 billion (AU $53.4 billion) was spent on a metro system for Doha and a new airport amongst other improvements.

Despite spending that much money, Qatar reportedly have still not manage to secure enough accommodation for the reported 1.2 million visitors arriving for the World Cup; that is, if the fans are even legitimate. Fans can expect to stay in pop-up shipping container-like rooms or tents amongst other rooms.

Dezeen's guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar stadium architecture
Constructing the stadiums needed for the World Cup cost the Qatari government less than $10 billion of the $220 billion total expendature. Image: @Dezeen

Even though the country’s population is only three million, Qatar’s GDP is approximately $180 billion (AU $276 billion) in 2022 thanks to its natural gas riches. This means that since they awarded the World Cup back in 2010, they have spent on average $18.3 billion (AU $27.2 billion) a year, or over 10% of their GDP.

But Qatar are not even expecting that much – in the grand scheme of things – in return for their huge investment. Sources say that the Middle Eastern country is ‘only’ anticipating adding $17 billion (AU $25.2 billion) to the country’s economy.

Perhaps, Qatar are hoping that by spending so much money on the tournament, it will elevate their status as a ‘bigger player’ in world geopolitics, or boost foreign trade and tourism in the long run.

Qatar has spent over roughly 10% of its GDP on the World Cup every year since 2010. Image: @go.qatar.2022

But, it will be tricky to forget a World Cup that has been mired in controversy since its inception, with the sweltering conditions forcing the tournament to be moved to winter, to the awful working conditions which migrant workers have been subjected to, something which the Qatari government refutes.

Maybe somewhere in that $220 billion, they can do the decent thing and find the money to compensate these workers. Although, this is probably wishful thinking.

Read Next

376651