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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

UAE included in draw for Gulf Cup of Nations slated for Qatar starting in December despite boycott

UAE FA yet to comment on whether they will participate alongside Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, who have also severed diplomatic relations with Doha

UAE's Ismail Matar, left, shields the ball from Saudi Arabia's Omar Ibrahim Othman during a recent World Cup qualifier at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain. Chris Whiteoak / The National
UAE's Ismail Matar, left, shields the ball from Saudi Arabia's Omar Ibrahim Othman during a recent World Cup qualifier at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The UAE were on Monday included in the draw for the Gulf Cup of Nations in Qatar later this year, despite the current boycott of the country.

The draw for the tournament, slated for December 22 to January 8, was made in Doha, although there were no representatives present from the UAE Football Association. The same applied to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, who have also severed diplomatic ties with Qatar. As part of the boycott, now almost into its fourth month, the three countries, along with Egypt, have cut travel and trade connections with Qatar over its links to terrorist groups and its relations with Iran.

The UAE were drawn in Group B alongside Saudi Arabia and Oman, with Bahrain placed in Group A with Qatar, Iraq and Yemen.

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The FA could not be reached for comment immediately following the draw on Monday as to whether the national team will participate in the tournament.

The 23rd Gulf Cup of Nations was supposed to be staged last year in Kuwait after Iraq withdrew from hosting.

However, the Kuwait Football Association’s suspension by world governing body Fifa prompted its move again to Qatar.

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