Manchester United scrap plans for Qatar winter training camp amid regional tensions

Manchester United will not travel to the Gulf for a training camp next month due to security concerns amid tensions in the region, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer revealed this week. (Reuters)
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Updated 15 January 2020

Manchester United scrap plans for Qatar winter training camp amid regional tensions

  • Last January and November, United squad trained in Dubai
  • Earlier this month, the US men’s soccer team also canceled plans to train in Doha

LONDON: Manchester United will not travel to the Gulf for a training camp next month due to security concerns amid tensions in the region.

The Reds had not yet chosen a final destination but club officials were said to be strongly considering Qatar as the location for the winter break camp.

United are without a game for 16 days between Feb. 1 when they play Wolves in the Premier League and Feb. 17 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

United have trained at the Aspire Academy in Qatar’s capital Doha in the past during previous winter training camps, last in 2013 toward the end of Sir Alex Ferguson’s spell in charge.

Last January, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his squad trained in Dubai and some of his players not on international duty trained there in November during an international break.

Solskjaer told UK media that he has decided to take the United players to either Spain or Portugal instead.

When asked if United’s plans had changed, Solskjaer said: “Yes, there are things that worry me more than football.

“We were looking at the Middle East but that is definitely not going to happen. We will stay in Europe,” he added.

Tensions in the Gulf have been raised by the US killing of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani in an air strike near Baghdad airport and the unintentional downing by Iranian forces of a Ukrainian International Airlines in Tehran, killing all 176 passengers on board.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued travel advice for Qatar this month, saying tourists should “remain vigilant” amid a “heightened threat of terrorist attacks globally against UK interests and British nationals.”

Earlier this month, the US men’s soccer team also canceled plans to train in Doha throughout January “due to the developing situation in the region,” according to a. US Soccer Federation statement.


Lebanese footballer dies of bullet wound

Updated 39 min 52 sec ago

Lebanese footballer dies of bullet wound

  • Mohamed Atwi, 32, played as a midfielder for a number of Lebanese clubs and won the national league three times with Beirut’s Ansar, his club for almost a decade
  • Tributes poured in for the player, who was also capped three times for his country

BEIRUT: A prominent Lebanese footballer has died of a bullet wound sustained last month during a funeral for one of the victims of the Beirut port blast, his club said Friday.
Mohamed Atwi, 32, played as a midfielder for a number of Lebanese clubs and won the national league three times with Beirut’s Ansar, his club for almost a decade.
“A sad day for sport... a great loss for Lebanese football,” Wael Chehayeb, an official with his latest club Al-Akhaa Al-Ahly, posted on social media.
Tributes poured in for the player, who was also capped three times for his country.
Atwi was hit in the head by a bullet as he walked on a street in a Beirut neighborhood last month.
Initial reports suggested he was struck by a falling bullet fired in the air from a nearby procession mourning one of the firefighters killed in the August 4 port explosion.
Atwi’s family however has demanded a full investigation into the circumstances of his death, over which no arrests have been made.
Shooting in the air for celebrations and funerals is common in Lebanon despite recurring injuries from falling bullets.