Host Qatar draws Gulf Cup groups as regional tensions ease

DOHA, Qatar (AP) -- With soccer helping to ease regional tensions, host Qatar will play the United Arab Emirates in the Arabian Gulf Cup and an assistant referee from Egypt was picked by FIFA for Club World Cup duty in Doha.

Qatari organizers made the eight-nation draw for the Gulf Cup on Thursday, after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain reversed decisions to skip the tournament.

The three Qatari neighbors and Egypt have operated a diplomatic and transport boycott of the emirate since June 2017.

Qatar was pooled with the UAE, Yemen, and Iraq for the Nov. 26-Dec. 8 tournament.

In January, Qatar beat the host UAE 4-0 in the Asian Cup semifinals in Abu Dhabi before winning the title.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are in a Gulf Cup group with Kuwait and defending champion Oman.

Three days later, the Dec. 11-21 Club World Cup kicks off in Doha testing two stadiums being used at the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA says the African match officials nominated to work in Qatar include Mahmoud Ahmed Abou el-Regal of Egypt.


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