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Can World Cup soccer help heal Gulf wounds?

Communities torn apart by a yearslong rift between Gulf rulers may need time to heal the wounds of a crisis that damaged social ties that have historically transcended borders.
DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 18:  In this handout image provided by Qatar 2022/Supreme Committee, Qatar inaugurates fourth FIFA World Cup 2022 venue, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on December 18th, 2020 in Doha, Qatar. Qatar inaugurates fourth FIFA World Cup 2022™ venue, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, in front of 50% capacity crowd. The 40,000-capacity venue will host seven matches during Qatar 2022 up to the round-of-16 stage. Fans in attendance were required to show negative COVID-19 test results before entering the venue.  (P

Soccer has played a central role in creating “strong relations” among the citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations ever since the first Gulf Cup took place in Bahrain in 1970, Saudi soccer journalist Atef Nahass told Al-Monitor.

In recent times, the world's most popular sport had been a “unique platform of exchange” throughout a 3½-year spat that positioned Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt opposite Qatar, according to FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

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