Qatar organisers insist blockade poses 'no risk' to 2022 World Cup

The regional blockade on Qatar poses "no risk" to the 2022 World Cup going ahead, the tournament head said on Friday, maintaining that logistical obstacles are being overcome and building work is continuing with only "minimal" cost increases.

The energy-rich nation's land border and its air and sea routes have been closed off for four months since Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched an economic boycott. It has forced World Cup organisers to find alternative sources for materials to complete the eight venues being used by the region's first major tournament.

"We have come under criticism and attack over the years, but we have always faced our critics," Qatar World Cup supreme committee secretary general Hassan Al Thawadi told The Associated Press. "Our projects are going ahead as scheduled. This [blockade] is no risk in relation to the hosting of the World Cup."

The diplomatic crisis that has torn apart the Gulf Cooperation Council stems from allegations Qatar supports for extremist groups in the region, charges denied by Doha.

When Qatar's sole land border with Saudi Arabia was closed and sea traffic cut off, World Cup organisers were forced to instigate their "Plan B." They express confidence FIFA is not exploring a "Plan B" of its own for an alternate 2022 host.

"Every project has contingency plans and we have had contingency plans in place from the very start," Al Thawadi said in an interview during a visit to London to attend an exhibition by the Doha-based Aspire sports academy.

"Once the blockade came into play we contacted the main contractors, we put in place alternative supply chains, we sourced alternative materials from alternate suppliers. I'm very happy to say that our project scale is on time and there is no significant impact on our projects.

"As of today we haven't seen a significant impact on the cost. There might have been some minimal increase in terms of establishing alternative supply chains but these have been absorbed very, very quickly and been normalised as these supply chains have been put in place."

Despite doubts as to whether the bold £153 billion scheme to build eight stadiums, 64 training grounds and a travel infrastructure is viable, Qatar's competition venues executive director Ghanim Ali Al Kuwari says the country is still on track to be ready for the tournament in five years.

"One stadium is ready and the other seven are on schedule," he said. "The blockade has actually been a benefit, I would say. We have different resources now, different support from different countries.

"Now we are using different technology, different prices and different quality, from countries like Turkey, Europe, England, France, Germany, China and the USA."

The build-up to World Cup 2022 has been dogged with problems since it was controversially awarded to Qatar in 2010. The tournament has subsequently had to be moved to winter because of the temperatures in the summer.

There have also been reports of migrant workers on construction sites being subjected to appalling conditions.

But Al Kuwari added: "Our response to that is we will let anyone visit our construction sites and our accommodation, and they will find it perfectly good."

Information from The Associated Press and Press Association Sport was used in this report.