Federation Internationale de Football Association wades into Gulf crisis, removing Qatari referee from World Cup qualifier

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gives a press conference during the 67th FIFA Congress in the Bahraini capital Manama

FIFA removes Qatari match officials due to diplomatic crisis

Singaporean referee Taqi Jahari has been selected by Federation Internationale de Football Association to replace a Qatari referee for Tuesday's (Jun 13) World Cup qualifier between Thailand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In his place, the organization has agreed to field a referee from Singapore, who will join another official from Singapore and two from Malaysia for the match.

President of FIFA Giovanni Infantino believes that the current diplomatic crisis in gulf will not affect the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is to be hosted by Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and other nations cut ties with Qatar earlier in the week, accusing the country of supporting terrorism. Qatar denies it backs extremist groups.

"The decision has been taken for sporting reasons and in view of the current geopolitical situation", Federation Internationale de Football Association confirmed, via AP.

Infantino said he was confident that diplomatic relations will be restored by the time the tournament begins in around five years time, during an interview with Swiss newspaper Le Matin Dimanche. "However, I am convinced and optimistic that the situation in the region will be relaxed again".

The World Cup preparations have also been criticised for inhumane working conditions and bad worker treatment to immigrant workers.

Those claims have faced fresh scrutiny during the crisis, possibly invigorating a campaign by critics of Qatar to strip Doha of the tournament.

Infantino has been visiting South Korea since last week for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup final between England and Venezuela that was held on Sunday. Obviously, if football can make a small contribution, in any way.

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