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Low oil prices are prompting Qatar to fire a quarter of the employees for the watchdog that it had created to oversee the organization of the upcoming 2020 FIFA World Cup, according to an anonymous source who spoke to Reuters.
The total cut—20 employees—will be let go from the International Center for Sports Security (ICSS), which oversees the safety, security, and integrity of planning procedures for major sporting events in the country, major events such as the FIFA World Cup.
"The ICSS has restructured and is reorganizing and...we can confirm that some staff will be affected,” the group said in an emailed statement. “The roles that are affected will be distributed internationally across the ICSS Group."
In addition to the World Cup, Qatar will be hosting the World Championships in Athletics in 2019 and is expected to bid to host the 2028 Summer Olympic games, although downsizing staff meant to ensure the events are safe, secure, and maintain integrity may not bode well for the oil-dependent nation’s chances.
Nearly three years of low oil prices have made it difficult for Doha to meet the capital commitments it had originally made for the sporting competitions, which were intended to present Qatar’s modern capabilities.
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The push towards financial responsibility led Qatar to cut the budget for the World Cup by between 40 and 50 percent, according to reports from earlier this month.
“We wanted to ensure there is financial responsibility in relation to the infrastructure relating to the World Cup,” Hassan Al Thawadi, the secretary-general of the supreme committee for delivery and legacy, said. “That’s why we had set an initial budget early on and made a commitment towards reducing it as the market became clearer, as the project became clearer, as we define the scope.”
Doha had originally proposed the construction of 12 venues in its bid to host the international tournament, but the new budget allots money for seven new stadiums and the refurbishment of one other.
Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…