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US football team cancels Qatar training camp amid unrest in Middle East

United States

Bengaluru/Doha, January 4: The United States men's national football team have cancelled a planned training camp in Qatar due to rising political tensions in the Middle East.

US coach Gregg Berhalter had called up 25 players for the 20-day camp scheduled to begin at Doha's Aspire Academy from January 5.

US Soccer announced the decision on Friday, less than 24 hours after the Pentagon confirmed US president Donald Trump had ordered the drone strike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad International Airport.

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The incident prompted Iran's supreme leader to vow retaliation against those responsible.

"Due to the developing situation in the region, US Soccer has decided to postpone travelling to Qatar for the Men's National Team's scheduled January training camp," the federation said in a statement.

"In the meantime, we are working on alternative arrangements in preparation for the match against Costa Rica on February 1 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

"We're working with the Qatar Football Association to find an opportunity in the near future for our team to experience Qatar's world-class facilities and hospitality."

The camp was expected to include a friendly against Jesse Marsch's Salzburg, but Gregg Berhalter's men will reportedly now assemble domestically as they build towards their first match of 2020.

Qatar is the host nation of the FIFA 2022 World Cup which is going to be held in a Middle East country for the first time. The US kicks off its qualifying campaign in September and is desperate to qualify for Qatar 2022 after missing out in Russia 2018.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Story first published: Saturday, January 4, 2020, 8:00 [IST]
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