Manchester United have cancelled the training camp in Qatar because of the political tensions in the region. The decision comes in wake of the recent political drama that has unfolded between the USA and Iran which has led to rising geopolitical tensions.
Speaking to reporters before the FA Cup replay against Wolverhampton Wanderers, manager of Manchester United Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said that he had things which worried him more than football. "If there is one thing that worries me, it’s not on the football pitch. There are other things that will worry me more than football. We were looking at the Middle East but that is definitely not going to happen. I am going to give them a few days off. I don’t know where they will all scatter around but we will stay in Europe."
Tensions in the region escalated on January 3 after the US killed Iran's Revolutionary Guards commander General Qassem Soleimani. In retaliation, on January 8, Iran fired missiles at two military bases in Iraq housing American troops. In the retaliatory firing, a Ukraine International Airlines flight was shot down, killing all 172 onboard. Iran admitted to the incident and said that it was a "human error".
Last week, Ajax defender Sergino Dest left the club's camp in Qatar citing safety concerns. Dest, who represents the USA in International football, went back to the Netherlands. "Sergiño Dest has asked if he could leave Ajax's training camp in Qatar. He didn't feel comfortable. Ajax understands his request and has responded to it," the club said.
US men’s soccer team had also cancelled its plan to train in Doha, Qatar, between January 5 and 25 because of the political regions in the region. The team will now train in Bradenton, Florida. “Due to the developing situation in the region, U.S. Soccer has decided to postpone traveling to Qatar for the Men’s National Team’s scheduled January training camp," United States Soccer said in a statement.