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Senior UAE official offers to help Qatar in FIFA World Cup

Aref Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council speaks during a press confrence on March 23, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Aref Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council speaks during a press confrence on March 23, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

The General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Aref Al-Awani, expressed his country’s readiness to provide help in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which would be hosted by Doha.

Al-Awani said: “We are ready to offer any help if they (Qataris) need it,” stressing that his country would be glad to do so.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino declared at a press conference Wednesday that the Association is studying the possibility of extending the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to include 48 teams and the option that the Gulf States could help Qatar hosting some matches.

For his part, Al-Awani asserted: “FIFA has proposed the matter, and we are currently studying the economic implications, opportunities and chances we can get from this matter.”

The UAE official continued: “I think this will be beneficial for football in the whole region because sports are for everyone and between all teams.”

Al-Awani did not reveal how the UAE could help Qatar in organising the 2022 World Cup, amid the absence of diplomatic relations between his country and Doha for the moment.

A UAE official approaching Qatar: We are ready to provide anything to help to organise the 2022 World Cup

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have cut ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of supporting Iran and terrorism. However, Qatar has denied the accusations, saying the embargo is an attempt to undermine its sovereignty and curb its support for reformation.

In previous comments on the decision of the Executive Office of FIFA, which compelled the teams of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to play in Qatar during the AFC Champions League last year, Al-Awani stressed that the UAE and Saudi teams would not play matches in the AFC Champions League on Qatari stadiums.

The official said: “It is impossible for our teams to play in a state where terrorists enjoy impunity, live on its territories in full freedom and pose a direct threat to any Emirati or Saudi there.”

Read: Report claims UAE arms Al-Qaeda and Daesh in Yemen

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