Saudi-led bloc demanded FIFA 'strip Qatar of World Cup’
A Saudi-led coalition of countries blockading Qatar has reportedly urged football's governing body FIFA to strip the Gulf nation of hosting the 2022 World Cup, escalating tensions after cutting ties last month.
Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt wrote a joint letter to FIFA demanding that it remove Qatar as hosts, Swiss website The Local reported.
The letter cited Article 85 of the FIFA code, which allows for such measures in case of emergency.
FIFA, however, said that their president, Gianni Infantino, who was quoted by The Local, had not received any such letter.
"The FIFA president has never received such a letter and subsequently has not done any comment on that," a FIFA spokesman told Reuters.
"As already said, FIFA is in regular contact with the Qatar 2022 Local Organising Committee and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup," he added.
A source close to Qatar's World Cup activities said the country is aware the Saudi-led bloc is involved in such a move, but said the country has not received a letter regarding the demand, Reuters reported.
Last month, a Saudi think-tank said Qatar should be stripped of its right to the 2022 FIFA World Cup for "ethics violations" and "support for terrorism", allegations Doha vehemently denies.
Days later, FIFA published a 430-page report vindicating Qatar from allegations of wrongdoing over its World Cup bid.
The report was a boost to Qatar's credibility as its Gulf rivals dragged sports into their blockade of Doha.
FIFA said in June that it is in "regular contact" with Qatar, after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt severed ties with Doha.
The Arab countries closed air, sea and land links with Qatar, barred the emirate's planes from their airspace and ordered Qatari citizens out within 14 days.
Qatar will be hosting the World Cup between 21 November and 18 December, 2022 and is scheduled to host multiple events across different sports in the lead-up to the tournament.
Doha has also emphasised that the tournament serves the entire Gulf, and not just the tiny gas-rich emirate.