The Latest: FIFA says World Cup can ease tensions over Qatar

MOSCOW | The Latest: FIFA says World Cup can ease tensions over Qatar

MOSCOW— The Latest from the World Cup in Russia (all times local):


3 p.m.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino says talks over changing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar can ease tensions with regional neighbors.

Saudi Arabia has joined with other Middle East states in enforcing a hostile boycott of Qatar since June 2017.

In recent months, Infantino has supported calls to add 16 more teams to the 2022 tournament — a plan likely to make Qatar share hosting duties because it is building only eight stadiums.

Infantino says Qatar can insist on keeping a 32-team format, though he is “pretty sure that all options will be on the table.”

“Maybe we could bring those who are having difficulties communicating with each other to start dialogue,” the FIFA president said at his only World Cup news conference. “The door is slightly ajar and we will see how it moves on from there.”

The Emir of Qatar is expected to attend the World Cup final on Sunday, and Infantino sat with the Saudi crown prince at the opening game on June 14.

Asked about his in-game chatter with VIP guests, Infantino said: “When we are here we don’t speak about politics, we speak about football.”


2:25 p.m.

The boys soccer team in Thailand rescued from a flooded cave this week has been invited to FIFA’s annual awards event.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino says they will be invited to come to London, where the world’s best player prize will be presented on Sept. 24.

The 12 boys and their coach were asked to attend the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday. They were unable to accept for medical reasons, after being rescued between Sunday and Tuesday to end a two-week ordeal.

Infantino says FIFA will look at involving the team in another soccer event, possibly in Thailand.


By Associated Press