Infantino 'confident' in 2022 World Cup despite Qatar crisis

Jerome Frank
June 12, 2017

World football's governing body FIFA on Sunday said it agreed to remove Qatari refereeing officials from managing a World Cup Qualifying match involving the United Arab Emirates.

The Associated Press reported on Sunday that a referee from Singapore has been drafted in to replace one from Qatar for the UAE's match against Thailand in Bangkok on Tuesday.

Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup, has been accused of funding terrorism by several Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE.

Qatar denies it backs extremist groups and says the allegations from its Gulf rivals are politically motivated and meant to tarnish the country's image.

The FIFA chief also offered to run the possibility by other Northeast Asian leaders, starting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he said he was scheduled to meet in two days.

"We are indeed facing a diplomatic crisis", he said. "In any case, I am not in the habit of speculating and I'm not going to this time either".

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He added that Federation Internationale de Football Association was monitoring the situation and was "in regular contact" with Qatari authorities.

Qatar will be hosting World Cup between the 21 November - 18 December 2022 and is scheduled to host multiple events across different sports in the lead-up to the tournament.

Chinese Football Association Vice President Zhang Jian, a member of the FIFA Council which devises the institution's global strategy, said past year he would back a Chinese World Cup in 2030.

"I am confident that the region will return to a normalized situation", Infantino added.

But he stressed that Qatar's World Cup was five years away. Obviously, if football can make a small contribution, in any way.

Taqi was a video assistant referee (VAR) at the recently concluded Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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