Qatar to trim World Cup workforce as pandemic and economic pressures begin to bite

July 7 – Qatar’s World Cup organisers are set to reduce their workforce as the emirate introduces austerity measures amid the coronavirus crisis, according to reports.

Last month, Qatar’s finance ministry instructed state-funded entities to slash monthly costs for non-Qatari employees by 30% in a bid to shore up the country’s finances to cope with the impact of the global health crisis and the Saudi-led blockade.

Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Airways were among the first state-run companies to lay off personnel, but news service AFP is now reporting that the economic downturn has also reached the Supreme Committee for Legacy and Delivery, the local organising body tasked with planning the 2022 World Cup.

The Supreme Committee employs 550 people, but monitors the works of thousands of contractors and workers at the World Cup stadium sites. The organisation’s website suggests the Supreme Committee is still hiring, but in a statement to the AFP the body said: “The Supreme Committee has recently undertaken an internal exercise to assess the current workforce and engaged in a budget management and operational efficiency exercise as part of this transition.”

It continued: “As a result, we have taken the decision to make a number of positions redundant. All due salary and end of service benefits will be paid to those leaving, in line with Qatari labour laws.”

The number of redundancies at the organising committee has not been confirmed, but the Supreme Committee insists that the preparations for the global finals remain well on course, highlighting that it is moving from the construction phase to a period with an increased focus on events operations.

The layoffs follow a trend across the board at state-run operations in Qatar, with dismissals at Al Jazeera and redundancies as well as a salary cuts at beIN Sports.

Qatar has been hard hit by the Coronavirus, passing the milestone of 100,000 coronavirus cases on Monday. The country has recorded 133 fatalities.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1596496443labto1596496443ofdlr1596496443owedi1596496443sni@o1596496443fni1596496443