FIFA to stage 22-team Arab Cup in Qatar


FILE PHOTO: FIFA's President Gianni Infantino is seen at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

(Reuters) - FIFA has confirmed that Qatar will host an Arab Cup tournament in December next year which will feature 22 teams from around the region and act as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup in the Gulf State the following year.

The global soccer body said that Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen would take part.

"Through football, this tournament will unite over 450 million people from across the region," said FIFA president Gianni Infantino on a visit to the Lusail stadium, one of Qatar's eight World Cup venues.

Previously, an Arab Nations Cup was held on an irregular basis with nine tournaments staged between 1963 and 2012.

"(It) will be an important milestone and a final test of our preparations, only one year away from us hosting the first FIFA World Cup in the region,” said Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al Thani, president of the Qatar Football Association (QFA)

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)

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