FIFA have made an announcement that could affect Arsenal next season.
On Tuesday, the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 group phase was made and the likes of Egypt, Algeria and Morocco are some of the nine highest-ranked teams, including host country Qatar, who will be joined by the seven winners from the qualifying stage in the final tournament.
Egypt will have to wait until the summer to find out who will join them and Algeria in Group D, as they bid to advance to the knockout stage that takes place in 2022.
The draw is as follows:
Group A: Qatar, Iraq, Winner of Oman v. Somalia and Winner of Bahrain v. Kuwait
Group B: Tunisia, UAE, Syria and Winner of Mauritania v. Yemen
Group C: Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Winner of Jordan v. South Sudan and Winner of Palestine v. Comoros
Group D: Algeria, Egypt , Winner of Lebanon v. Djibouti and Winner of Libya v. Sudan
Given the tournament will take place later this year – during a similar timeslot to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, one would assume that Arsenal would have to release midfielder Mohamed Elneny if he is selected.
And the same applies to Liverpool regarding their star forward Mohamed Salah.
This is because the tournament is seen as a vital opportunity to test operations and facilities exactly a year before Qatar hosts the first World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world.
As Egypt’s group phase games take place on December 1, 4, and 7 it means Arteta and Jurgen Klopp are set to be without Elneny and Salah respectively for at least a week next season.
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This would be another blow for the Gunners boss.
In early 2022 the Africa Cup of Nations takes place and with Gabon, Ghana, and Ivory Coast all sealing their place at the finals, it means Arteta will be without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, and Nicolas Pepe for up to a month next season.
Furthermore, Elneny’s Egypt will also be taking part which means another period of unavailability for the midfielder.