Author: Amy

Pakistan joins a growing number of nations in refusing to play in the United Arab Emirates

Pakistan joins a growing number of nations in refusing to play in the United Arab Emirates

Paris joins big screen boycott of World Cup games from Qatar

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan’s government Friday joined a growing number of nations in refusing to play games in the United Arab Emirates that are taking place through an Arab League-led boycott of the 2022 World Cup.

The United Arab Emirates is the first major country to sever ties with the football tournament, citing the presence of an oil-rich state that supports terrorism.

The boycott of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has sparked a heated debate about the right of nations to play games in stadiums with large, mixed-gender crowds in the United States and Europe.

In a strongly worded letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said: “You may ask about the government’s intentions. The government wants to protect the security and stability of the country and its people.”

He said Pakistan had been “unable to attend the last two World Cups” because of the opposition to the event hosted in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

The countries named by Pakistan to play in the 2022 World Cup include Japan, South Korea, Mexico, France, Italy, the United States and Colombia.

Abbasi’s letter to Infantino said that if Pakistan was to play in the World Cup, it should not be on the basis of the “hollow rhetoric made by some countries.”

“We hope that some day, FIFA will be able to return to sport without the politics interfering with it,” Abbasi said.

Abbasi said the government had expressed its reservations about the UAE hosting the 2022 tournament “as we are of the view that the country (should) not be a part of any such tournament.”

FIFA has invited the United States to take part in the 2022 tournament, but it has also discussed the possibility of hosting the competition in Qatar from 2022. Qatar has previously denied hosting the world’s most popular football competition.

The letter Friday from Pakistan, which hosted the first semifinal between Germany and France

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