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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FIFA issues response after nations cut ties with World Cup 2022 host Qatar

Gab Marcotti explains how political issues in Qatar could present a problem ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

FIFA says it remains in "regular contact with Qatar" amid a growing diplomatic crisis between the 2022 World Cup host and its neighbours.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Maldives all cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday over its alleged support of Islamist groups and its relations with Iran.

Qatar denies the allegations and called the decision from its neighbouring countries to cut ties "unjustified" and with "no basis in fact," according to the BBC

FIFA issued a short statement on Monday saying it spoke with "the Qatar 2022 Local Organising Committee and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup."

FIFA added: "We have no further comments for the time being."

Qatari football faces no immediate threat from the country's diplomatic crisis, but huge questions will loom for the Gulf state's 2022 World Cup plans if relations do not improve with its neighbours.

Qatar sits on a peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, with its only land border to the south with Saudi Arabia. With that border closed and most of Qatar's neighbours now denying it access to their airspace, all building projects on the peninsula face enormous uncertainty.

The most high-profile of those projects is the construction of venues and related infrastructure for the World Cup in five years' time.

There are no Qatari clubs left in the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Champions League and Qatar's next qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in Russia is at home against South Korea on June 13. Qatar are currently bottom of their qualifying group, with only South Korea, Syria and China to play. They would need to win all three of those to have any hope of reaching a playoff that may see them play Saudi Arabia or UAE for a place in Russia.

In regards to how Qatar's international relations may impact preparations for the Middle East's first World Cup, the AFC declined to comment.

Information from Press Assocation and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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