Football in the Arab world will bring the people together: Infantino
FIFA President Gianni Infantino welcomed the signing of the Al-Ula declaration between the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which took place at the annual summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
“FIFA congratulates all the GCC members for today’s declaration, which is a very positive step for the region on the path to reconciliation,” Infantino said.
Imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in 2017, the blockade on Qatar triggered what soon became the worst GCC crisis since 2014.
However, the breakthrough, solidified with an official signing of the Declaration to end the years-long dispute, has been welcomed all around the world.
“The FIFA Arab Cup at the end of 2021 will bring 22 Arab countries together, uniting millions of fans from the entire region, and it will be an important step in the preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. This will be the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and in the Arab world, a unique opportunity for the entire region to unite and shine on the global stage,” Infantino added.
But he was not the only influential sporting figure to comment on the reconciliation efforts.
Karim Benzema, the Real Madrid forward and French national team player celebrated the reunion in a succinct tweet thanking God.
Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation also tweeted a photo showing Qatar national football team captain, Hassan Al Haydos embracing Saudi Arabia’s striker Nawaf al-Abed during a previous match.