DUBAI – The Qatar diplomatic crisis can end if Doha gives up the FIFA World Cup, 2022, says a top Emirati security official on Monday. The Qatar diplomatic crisis started in June, 2017, after the four Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt boycotted the country over allegations of its ties to Iran and alleged support for extremists.

These recent comments from a UAE official is the first time that someone from the four Arab nations directly linked the tournament to resolving the months-long dispute. Before this, the quartet asked Doha to shut down the operations of AL-Jazeera, a state funded media outlet. However, Qatar refused.

Dubai security official, Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan made comments on Twitter on Sunday night. However, no response has yet come from Qatari officials. The tweet came two days after the 2022 tournament’s head in Qatar said that they boycott poses ‘no threat’ to the competition being held.

In his tweets on Sunday night, Khalfan targeted the FIFA tournament. He wrote, “If the World Cup goes out of Qatar, the crisis in Qatar will end because the crisis was made to break it”.

He added: “The cost to return is more than what the al-Hamdeen have planned for,” likely referring to Qatar’s former ruling emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and former Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani.

As the crisis has dragged on despite Kuwait’s meddling, the United States and European nations – Qatar’s opponents have begun targeting the FIFA cup being hosted in the country. They pointed to allegations of corruption surrounding Qatar’s winning bid. However, FIFA ethics investigators found no evidence to back the allegations.