Doubts over Qatar hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup increased exponentially after the country was surrounded with a diplomatic crisis.
Arab nations namely Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of “destabilising the region with its support for Islamist groups”. The countries have closed the only land route into what is already a very tiny peninsula and have refused to allow the use of their sea ports and airspace.
However, FIFA president Gianni Infantino does not believe that the diplomatic crisis will threaten its staging of the tournament.
Asked if he believed that Qatar’s hosting was in danger, Infantino said, “No. In any case, I am not in the habit of speculating and I’m not going to this time either.”
“The essential role of FIFA, as I understand it, is to deal with football and not to interfere in geopolitics,” he said.
“We are indeed facing a diplomatic crisis. But on the other hand, I am confident that the region will return to a normalised situation. The World Cup is in 2022. In five years.
“Obviously, if football can make a small contribution, in any way, to an improvement, I will not hesitate to offer my help.”
Qatar has continuously maintained that allegations of it supporting terrorism were “complete fabrication”. The strong statement from Infantino would definitely provide relief to those working towards hosting and organising the tournament.