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FIFA given ‘red flag’ about Qatar team just before World Cup opener

FIFA have been alerted to an ‘unusual’ trend in Qatar’s World Cup warm-up matches by one of their integrity partners. The warning reportedly surrounds penalties awarded to the tournament hosts, with their opener against Ecuador on Sunday edging closer. 

Qatar are currently ranked as the 50th-best men’s international team in the world, sandwiched between the Republic of Ireland and Saudi Arabia. Regular warm-up matches have been taking place since the end of July, with many of them played behind closed doors. 

That much is to be expected given that they have never qualified for a World Cup since gaining independence in 1971. In Group A, Qatar have been dealt a relatively favourable line-up with Ecuador, Senegal and the Netherlands all attempting to make it to the knockout stages. 

But according to The Daily Mail, a ‘red flag’ has been raised by one of FIFA’s integrity partners, relating to Qatar’s friendly results in the lead-up to the World Cup. 

JUST IN: World Cup LIVE: Qatar chiefs make another late U-turn, Hoddle backs duo for England job

Late changes of heart have also impacted the controversial paid-for scheme. A selection of fans from each competing nation have been flown out to the tournament with their accommodation paid for to chant at games and spread positive messages about their experience, but the previously-promised £60-a-day allowance has supposedly been cut.

It won’t be long until the focus is firmly on football with Qatar set to contest their first-ever World Cup match on Sunday.

Regarding FIFA’s integrity alert, the QFA have been contacted for comment. 

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