FIFA removes Qatari match officials due to diplomatic crisis

ZURICH (AP) FIFA says it has agreed to a request from the United Arab Emirates for Qataris to be stopped from officiating at a World Cup qualifier due to the diplomatic rift between the Gulf nations.

A referee from Singapore has replaced a one from Qatar for the UAE's match against Thailand in Bangkok on Tuesday. He will be assisted by a fellow Singaporean and two officials from Malaysia.

FIFA said in a statement to The Associated Press that ''the decision has been taken for sporting reasons and in view of the current geopolitical situation.''

Earlier this week, the UAE joined Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt in severing ties with Qatar after accusing the 2022 World Cup host nation of sponsoring terrorism. Qatar denies it backs extremist groups.

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