PARIS - The head of the team organising the 2022 World Cup pledged on Wednesday that they will run an "affordable" tournament in Qatar amid fears of a post-pandemic global recession.
"We have always said from day one this will be an affordable tournament; we want anyone who wants to be able to come to the World Cup to be able to come," said Hassan Al Thawadi, the secretary general of the supreme committee charged with delivering the tournament.
"We demonstrated that during the Club World Cup when we engaged with fans from all the different clubs, that the whole travel experience was affordable in terms of flights, in terms of accommodation."
Speaking at the LeadersWeek.direct conference Al Thawadi admitted he was worried about fans not being able to travel to the Middle East in an economy buffeted by the coronavirus crisis.
"There are significant implications for employment, livelihoods, and the problem we have today is, what is recovery going to look like?" asked Al Thawadi.
"It's all right now unclear. We are entering into a recession, and there is no doubt there is a concern about the global economy and the ability of fans to afford travel and afford coming and celebrating the World Cup."
Qatar has been continuing its preparations for the World Cup despite the spread of COVID-19, which according to official figures has infected around 34,000 people in the country.