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6 Boycotting Countries Demand FIFA Strip Qatar of World Cup 2022 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The logo of the Qatar-hosted 2022 FIFA World Cup. (AFP)

Stockholm – Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt had collectively written to the football governing body, FIFA, asking it to remove Qatar as host of the 2022 World Cup, a Swiss website, The Local, reported on Saturday.

The six countries referred to Article 85 of the FIFA Code, which allows for such action in the case of emergency.

According to the statement which Reuters cited, the six Arab countries, who last month cut ties with Qatar, are reported to have written to FIFA to demand that Doha be stripped of hosting the 2022 World Cup because they consider the Gulf state to be a “base of terrorism”.

In the report, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that the sports federations of the six countries referred to “Qatar’s black record in support of terrorism,” calling on FIFA to cancel Qatar’s bid to host FIFA World Cup 2022 in accordance to Article 85.
Reuters has not seen a copy of the letter and FIFA said that 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,” said a FIFA spokesman.

“As already said, FIFA is in regular contact with the Qatar 2022 Local Organizing Committee and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” he added.

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.

An official source from the Egyptian Football Federation confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that his country was among those that submitted the letter to FIFA.

When asked whether FIFA would take action, Infantino indicated that the request could be accepted, saying “the mechanisms and regulations (FIFA) are very clear, and in this case we have to look at what will happen at the upcoming meeting.”

This is a case similar to when FIFA chose to move the 13th World Cup in 1986 to Mexico, after having previously selected Colombia, said Infantino.

The six countries have drawn attention to threats to the security and safety of fans and players in a country that is a base for terrorism, he added.

Qatar, a country with a negligible football 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 minimize the impact of the desert state’s hot climate.