ZURICH: FIFA has categoryically denied reports that the world federation’s president Gianni Infantino had received a received an Arab world request demanding that Qatar be stripped of the 2022 World Cup writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Infantino was reported by Reuters as having told the Swiss website The Local that Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt wrote jointly to the world football federation with the demand, quoting Article 85 which concerns emergency action.

However the article later vanished from the website among claims that this was ‘fake news’ generated by the Middle East outlets. The website said it had not generated the article and was investigating how it appeared on-site.

A FIFA spokesman said: “The FIFA president has never received such a letter and subsequently has not made any comment on that.

“As already said, FIFA is in regular contact with the Qatar 2022 Local Organising Committee and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”

Either way, in the current fraught political situation it would not be a surprise if Qatar’s opponents targeted the World Cup hosting.

Last month Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt issued a list of 13 demands which Doha has ignored.

The four countries severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in June after accusing the country of supporting terrorism and Iran, charges that Doha denies.