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UAE 'withdraws' youth football team from Asian qualifiers to avoid playing Qatar amid Gulf crisis Open in fullscreen

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UAE 'withdraws' youth football team from Asian qualifiers to avoid playing Qatar amid Gulf crisis

Qatar is set to host football's 2022 World Cup [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 September, 2017

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The UAE has pulled its football team out of the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers after the Asian Football Confederation rejected its request not to play against Qatar.

The United Arab Emirates has pulled its football team out of the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers after the Asian Football Confederation rejected its request not to play against Qatar.

Sharjah Sport reported on Wednesday that the AFC had "rejected requests that the UAE youth team be placed a different group and for games to be played on neutral ground".

The Emirati broadcaster added that the UAE Football Association had "withdrawn" from the championship.

The move comes amid a diplomatic and economic standoff between Qatar and its neighbours.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut all ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of bankrolling Islamist extremists and being too close to Iran - Doha denies the charges.

Before the withdrawal, the Qatari and Emirati youth teams had been in the same qualifying group, whose games are all being hosted by Doha.

The AFC said that the UAE's team failed to show up on Wednesday for a match against Bangladesh at Doha's Grand Hamad Stadium.

"Any member association that does not report for a match shall be considered to have withdrawn from the competition after its commencement," the confederation said in a statement.

The UAE Football Association has said that it would file a complaint with football's governing body FIFA over the rejection of its request.

The youth team of Yemen, whose internationally-recognised government has also cut ties with Doha, played against the hosts on Wednesday, making a sensational start to their campaign with a 6-1 win.

This is not the first time the Gulf crisis has entered the world of sports.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have all failed to confirm their football teams' attendance at the 2017 Gulf Cup of Nations, which is set to be held in Qatar in December.

Qatar is set to host football's 2022 World Cup.

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