FIFA says the competition will continue “as planned”, although Abu Dhabi, the host city, has been targeted twice by Houthi missiles in a week.
FIFA says the 2021 FIFA World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi in February this year, is scheduled to go as planned, despite the escalation of the protracted war in Yemen, in which the UAE capital was aimed by Houthi missiles in the last week.
The UAE said on Monday it had intercepted and destroyed two ballistic missiles over Abu Dhabi fired by Yemeni Houthi rebels.
The incident was followed by a drone and rocket attack by Hutus on Abu Dhabi, which killed three civilians last week.
The World Club Championship, which features regional champions and representatives of the host country, is scheduled to take place from 3 to 12 February in two locations in Abu Dhabi.
The escalation of violence and double attacks raised doubts about the tournament, but FIFA, the world’s governing body for football, told Al Jazeera that the event was scheduled to take place.
“The FIFA Club World Cup in the UAE 2021 will be held as planned,” said a FIFA spokesman.
“When it comes to the security of the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup, FIFA continues to monitor the situation and work closely with the local organizing committee and other key stakeholders in the UAE on security measures for the tournament.
The event with seven teams begins, with the home team Al Jazira Club facing AS Pirae from Tahiti, a substitute for Auckland City FC, who withdrew from the tournament for the second year in a row due to COVID regulations.
The winners of the CAF Al Ahly SC Champions League, the CONCACAF Champions League Champion CF Monterrey, the AFC Champions League winners Al Hilal SFC, the Copa Libertadores champions SE Palmeiras and Chelsea, European champions, complete the squad.
Following last week’s attack on an oil facility and a construction site outside Abu Dhabi airport, Brazil’s Palmeiras also confirmed to Al Jazeera that “there are no planned changes to the club’s schedule and procedures in Abu Dhabi”.
On Monday, videos on social media showed that the sky over Abu Dhabi was lit before dawn, with light points resembling interceptor missiles, the Associated Press reported.
The UAE Ministry of Defense, quoted by the state news agency WAM, said that “the remains of the intercepted ballistic missiles fell in some areas around Abu Dhabi”, adding that it is “ready to deal with any threats and” take all necessary measures for the protection of the state ”.
Two Indians and a Pakistani man working for oil giant ADNOC died last week when three petrol tanks exploded near a storage facility.
The war in Yemen began in 2014, when Hussein rebels seized much of the country, including the capital Sanaa, forcing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee.
The fight escalated in March 2015 when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with US support, formed a military coalition in support of Hadi’s government that pushed the Hutus out of the south.
The outbreak has raised fears of a worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where the situation is already dire, with more than 16 million people lacking food insecurity.
Although it is difficult to gather accurate figures, the UN estimates that more than 377,000 people have died in the conflict by the end of 2021.