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Gulf crisis: Arab nations demand Fifa strips Qatar of 2022 World Cup

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and Mauritania collectively wrote to Fifa, asking it to remove Qatar as hosts because they consider the Gulf state to be a “base of terrorism”.

world Updated: Jul 17, 2017 18:52 IST
Gulf crisis,2022 World Cup,Fifa
A man walks on the corniche in Doha on June 15, 2017.(Reuters)

The six Arab countries who last month cut ties with Qatar are reported to have written to world football’s governing body, FIFA, to demand the Gulf state be stripped of hosting the 2022 World Cup because they consider it a “base of terrorism”.

Swiss website The Local reported that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and Mauritania 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.

Fifa said that their president Gianni Infantino had not received any such document. “The Fifa president has never received such a letter and subsequently has not done any comment on that,” a spokesman said.

“As already said, Fifa is in regular contact with the Qatar 2022 local organising committee and the supreme committee for delivery and legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” he added.

A source familiar with the Qatari government’s World Cup activities said Qatar is aware the Arab countries are engaged in such a move but understands Qatar has not yet received the letter.

People in the United States who represent and advise the Saudi government have also not yet responded to Reuters’ request for confirmation or comment.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and Iran. Doha denies the charges.

Qatar, a country with a negligible soccer background or infrastructure, was a controversial winner of the right to host the 2022 World Cup, which will be held in November and December to minimise the impact of the desert state’s harsh climate.

First Published: Jul 16, 2017 16:03 IST