A top United Arab Emirates security official has said the only way for Qatar's crisis to end is Doha giving up hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, his comments coming amid the ongoing diplomatic dispute between Qatar and four Arab countries.
Dubai security chief Dhahi Khalfan, known for being outspoken on Twitter, later wrote his "personal analysis" of what he described as the financial pressure Doha faces in hosting the games had been misunderstood.
But his remarks came as lobbying firms backed by the four nations opposing Qatar in the diplomatic dispute increasingly target the upcoming soccer competition in their criticism.
Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all cut diplomatic ties and began a boycott of Qatar on June, over allegations that Doha supports extremists and undermines regional security.
Qatar has long denied funding extremists and restored full diplomatic ties to Iran amid the dispute. Doha shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Iran that makes its citizens incredibly wealthy.
Hassan al-Thawadi, Qatar World Cup supreme committee secretary-general, told the AP that the tournament will go ahead as scheduled.
"We are aiming to make sure that this World Cup leaves a legacy for the people of the Middle East (and) is an opportunity to transform our region towards a sustainable and stable future," he said.