Qatar's stock index tumbled low after the unexpectedly resignation of the FIFA President. But as Hayley Platt reports it’s not clear whether Doha is at serious risk of losing the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup.
A three percent fall and a six-week low for Qatar's stock index. That was the initial response from investors to fears Doha could lose the rights to host the 2022 World Cup. The decision was made five years ago but it's been dogged by controversy ever since. Sepp Blatter's decision to quit, just days after he was elected FIFA president for a fifth term, added to the tension. Richard Hunter is from Hargreaves Lansdowne. SOUNDBITE: Richard Hunter, Head of Equities, Hargreaves Lansdowne, saying (English): "The latest speculation is that the Qatari bid for 2022 will be coming under review yet to be confirmed, it seems as though the Russian bid is rather less under threat, partly because it's only three year's away but certainly the Qatari bid and the way it was conducted means that it seems to be in the firing line for potential review" Qatar has already spent a fortune preparing for the World Cup. It's latest venture is a new orthopaedic department at Doha hospital. Khalid Abdullah Al-Sulaiteen is CEO of the Aspire Zone Foundation. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ASPIRE ZONE FOUNDATION CEO, KHALID ABDULLAH AL-SULAITEEN, SAYING: "All these projects are part of the preparation for 2022 World Cup, the event much awaited by citizens and residents of Qatar. Everything we do is aimed at providing services and facilities for the athletes." Swiss authorities have launched a criminal probe into the awarding of the 2022 and 2018 World Cups. But it's not yet clear whether Qatar faces a serious risk of losing the rights. It's denied any wrongdoing in the bidding process, and looks set to fight any attempt to take away the Cup. Losing it would have very little impact on the super-wealthy economy. But Qatari retail investors have reacted emotionally in the past year to any suggestion the event may be lost.