Qatar blockade hits Asian Cup with UAE-only ticket giveaway

So good luck spotting the Qatari fans when UAE takes on Qatar in the AFC Asian Cup semifinals on Tuesday, as the host has gone to greats lenghts to ensure no pro-Qatari supporters sneak in.

In a telling turn of events, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council has snapped up all remaining tickets to give away to “loyal UAE fans”, it said in a tweet.

The move appears aimed at preventing a repeat of Qatar’s last-16 game with Saudi Arabia, the UAE’s staunch ally, when Omani fans turned up to cheer on the Maroons.

It also highlights seething tensions between Qatar and UAE, one of a group of countries enforcing a diplomatic and transport blockade of the 2022 World Cup host for allegedly supporting terrorism - a claim Doha denies.

Seeing Qatar celebrating under its national flag in Abu Dhabi would be hard to stomach for the host, and would raise the thorny question of whether to let senior officials from the country attend.

“It’s not only me who wants to travel to the match, thousands of Qatari people want to watch the team,” Qatar fan Abdulrahman, a 25-year-old IT engineer, told AFP in Doha.

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