Despite having an automatic qualifications, Qatar’s national football team has been granted permission to play in the World Cup qualifiers.
The Asian Football Confederation has announced that Qatar’s national football team is welcomed to participate at the preliminary rounds of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers despite being given an automatic berth in the finals as tournament hosts.
— Gulf-Times (@GulfTimes_QATAR) July 26, 2017
According to current regulations, the 12 teams that make it to the final round of the Asian qualifiers to the 2022 World Cup automatically secure spots at the Asian Cup the following year.
The decision was made by the AFC on Tuesday, and following a pending FIFA approval, Qatar will be represented in the latter rounds of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers as well.
The AFC also said that they are putting effort into ensuring that broadcasts of the qualifying rounds for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the Asian Champions League would not be affected by regional politics.
Recent political developments led to the ban of beIn Sports, a division of the state-owned Al Jazeera network, in several Middle Eastern countries.
The same political situation led to FIFA replacing a the Qatari referee that had been slated to lead to a World Cup qualifier match between Thailand and the UAE in June.
The AFC also announced that there will be a bigger prize pot for the winners of the 2018 Asian Champions League. Next year, the winners will go home with $3 million and the runners-up with $1.5 million.