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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

UAE bans Qatari American football team citing 'security concerns'

Doha Desert Swarm expelled from upcoming season

The Emirates American Football League has expelled Doha Desert Swarm from the upcoming season, citing security concerns as the reason behind the decision.

In a board room meeting, the UAE Rugby Federation, the parent organisation to the league, said the side contains players from various different nationalities and that security is of concern.

“We want to protect our country both domestically and internationally, we condemn any attempts to harm the homeland because that’s our red line, especially from countries that sponsor terrorism,” Mohammed Al Zaabi, a board member of the parent organisation, the UAE Rugby Federation.

Mr Al Zaabi questioned the Qatari team’s motives and said that the league cannot afford to risk the country’s security with the participation of foreign teams.

The league is now looking to invite an American football team from Riyadh and another team from the American University of Dubai to participate in upcoming fixtures.

That would bring the league count to eight teams.

The league began in 2012 and has had more than 1,500 players run through its ranks, with players from 53 countries participating.