DOHA - Qatar is reviewing whether it will build all of the 12 stadiums proposed in its bid for the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament as it finalizes plans that will go to FIFA for approval, the event's organizing committee said on Monday.
After it won the right to host the World Cup in 2010, the tiny but wealthy state, with a population of about 2.1 million, announced plans for a raft of construction and infrastructure projects over the following 15 years.
But bureaucratic and logistical difficulties, rising construction costs and foreign criticism of employment conditions for construction workers in Qatar mean some of the projects may be slowed, scaled back or shelved.
"The requirement is a minimum of eight and a maximum of 12 stadiums," the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said in an emailed statement.
Qatar's bid had included 12 stadiums "...but, as is the case with any FIFA World Cup, once a country is chosen as host, a review of the bid plans is made with the organizers to propose the final host cities and stadium projects," the committee said.
It also said Qatar's final proposal for the number of stadiums would be submitted to the FIFA Executive Committee for approval but did not give a deadline for the submission.
Running huge state budget surpluses because of its status as the world's top exporter of liquefied natural gas, Qatar does not appear to face difficulty in funding its tens of billions of dollars worth of projects.
But scaling back some of the construction could reduce waste and ensure that key projects were delivered on schedule. Last month, a government source told Reuters that about 15 percent of planned projects were likely to be rescheduled, though he stressed that work specifically for the World Cup would take priority and be completed on time.
Conditions for construction workers in Qatar came under the spotlight when Britain's Guardian newspaper reported last September that dozens of Nepali workers had died during the summer and that they were not given enough food and water.
Qatar denied the Guardian's findings, but the International Monetary Fund said the issue "could affect the availability and cost of hiring new workers in the future".
(Reporting by Amena Bakr; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Raissa Kasolowsky)