The US-Iran tensions have raised security concerns in Asia’s second qualifying round and the 2022 World Cup finals.
Earlier, tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated after a drone attack at Baghdad airport (Iraq) that killed Quds task force commander Qassem Soleimani. However, the attack on Tuesday not only caused tensions in politics, but sports were more or less affected after the death of the Iranian general.
Tensions then escalated when Iran fired a series of ballistic missiles at a military base in Iraq, where US troops were stationed. The Iranian side also warned of threats to attack some of the US allies and US military bases that have raised widespread fears of conflict in the Middle East, of which Qatar is no exception.
The confrontation in politics has in fact affected sports, including football. Previously, due to security concerns, the US men’s team on Wednesday decided to cancel the training tour in Doha (Qatar) in preparation for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers for North Central America and the Caribbean.
Most recently, US defender Sergino Dest has asked permission to return home from the Ajax club training camp in Qatar because of concerns about rising tension between his country and Iran. This was confirmed by the Dutch club on October 10: “Sergino Dest is not comfortable with the growing tension in the area.”
The Ajax club said Dest had made a request to leave the training camp in Qatar, where teammates were preparing for the remaining phase of the Dutch top division after winter break. Sergino Dest is a US-Dutch national, but the player chose to play for the United States.
Along with the downing of a Ukrainian plane in Iran, the moves were more or less disturbing to the organization of the 2022 World Cup, the event hosted by Qatar. Earlier, according to Al Jazeera, Washington had sent nearly 3,000 troops to the Middle East amid growing threats to US forces in the region. Qatar has about 10,000 US military personnel at Al Udeid base. It is one of the most important US military bases in foreign countries and operates throughout the Middle East.
So, while it is not possible to predict the impact on Qatar’s hosting, the second qualifying round of the 2022 World Cup in Asia starting again in March is becoming a topic of discussion if the tension is over the straight US – Iran does not cool down. Notably, Iran will play at home against Hong Kong in Group C on schedule on March 26. Then, on June 4, Iran and Iraq received respectively Bahrain and Cambodia. These will be matches where the public is very concerned about security if the conflict in the Middle East continues.
In addition, the second qualifying phase of the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Asia has many home matches from Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Palestine and UAE, the team will host Vietnam in the match on 9.6 of Group G.