Mon, Jul 17, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Arab nations ask FIFA to strip Qatar of World Cup

IN WRITING:Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have reportedly asked that the 2022 World Cup be moved over player and fan safety concerns

Reuters, LONDON

Then-Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani holds the FIFA World Cup Trophy beside then-FIFA president Joseph Blatter after Qatar was announced as host of the 2022 World Cup in Zurich, Switzerland, on Dec. 2, 2010.

Photo: EPA

The six Arab nations that last month cut ties with Qatar are reported to have written to FIFA to demand it be stripped of hosting the 2022 World Cup, because they consider it to be a “base of terrorism.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino told Swiss Web site The Local that Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt had collectively written to FIFA asking it to remove Qatar as hosts under Article 85 of the FIFA Code, which allows for such action in the case of emergency.

“The countries warned FIFA of the risks threatening fan and player security in a country that is ‘the base and the castle of terrorism,’” The Local quoted Infantino as saying.

Infantino also said the nations have threatened to boycott the tournament should their request not be acted upon.

Reporters have not seen a copy of the letter and FIFA did not respond to a request for confirmation.

Qatar is aware the Saudis and others are engaged in such a move, but it has not yet received the letter, a source familiar with the Qatari government’s World Cup activities said.

People in the US who represent and advise the Saudi government have also not yet responded to a request for confirmation.

Qatar, a nation with negligible soccer background and infrastructure, was a controversial winner of the right to host the 2022 World Cup, which is to be held in November and December to minimize the effects of the desert state’s harsh climate.

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