Qatar will be included as a guest team in one of the European World Cup qualifying groups as part of their preparation for hosting the 2022 tournament, a source with knowledge of the plan told Reuters.
As hosts, Qatar qualify automatically for the 2022 World Cup and so would have to rely on friendly games to get ready for the finals. The plan is for the Gulf nation to be placed as a ‘shadow’ team in one of the five-team groups in UEFA’s qualification process and play friendly games against whichever team has a free date on a given matchday.
The Qatar games would all be played in Europe but not count in any way towards the qualification process and would be categorised as friendly matches. The move mirrors the approach taken by France for the 2016 European Championship that they hosted.
Neither UEFA nor the Qatari Football Association immediately responded to a request for comment.