FIFA 'in regular contact' with Qatar amid growing diplomatic dispute

FIFA has issued a response amid concerns that the dispute between Qatar and neighbouring Gulf states could damage World Cup preparations

FIFA says it is "in regular contact" with World Cup 2022 organisers amid concerns that preparations for the tournament could be hampered by the growing diplomatic dispute involving Qatar.

A group of nations including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain announced it will sever ties with Qatar on Monday.

Through its national press agency, Saudi Arabia issued a statement accusing their neighbours of "harbouring a multitude of terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to create instability in the region".

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Borders have been closed between the countries and air and sea traffic has been suspended between the peninsular nation and a number of other states. Qatar has branded the decision "unjustified".

A statement from Qatar's Ministry of Foreign affairs read: "Qatar expressed deep regret over the decision of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain to close their borders and airspace and cut off diplomatic relations. Such measures are unjustified and are based on baseless and unfounded allegations.

"Qatar has been exposed to an instigation campaign based on allegations that amounted to absolute fabrications, which proves that there are premeditated intentions to cause damage to the state."

Concerns have been raised that the measures could impact the construction of the venues and infrastructure for the 2022 finals - due to be hosted by Qatar.

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In response to the concerns, a FIFA spokesperson told Omnisport: "FIFA is in regular contact with the Qatar 2022 Local Organising Committee and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

"We have no further comments for the time being."

A total of eight new venues are being built for the competition in five years' time.

New metro and roadway projects are also in place to help to improve transport links in Qatar in time for the tournament.

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