Doha’s rivals to play in Arab tournament in Qatar
Doha: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt will compete in the 22-nation Arab Cup tournament in Qatar in 2021, despite their political and economic boycott of Doha, FIFA said Wednesday. The competition, to be staged from December 1 to December 18, 2021, will be vital for Qatar to test key infrastructure ahead of the 2022 World Cup, opportunities for which have been limited by the coronavirus crisis. "We are delighted that all 22 teams from across the Arab world have agreed to take part in the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, which will be held in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 stadiums, and we are looking forward to seeing the region's best teams battle it out," said FIFA President Gianni Infantino in a statement. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, along with Bahrain which will also participate, abruptly broke off ties with Qatar in 2017 over their claims that Doha was supporting radical movements and backed Iran, denied by Qatar. In 2017 the three Gulf countries opposed to Qatar boycotted a regional tournament due to be held in Doha, only participating after the venue was switched to Kuwait. - AFP