Manchester United Scrap Middle East Training Camp Amid Security Concerns

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United have scrapped plans for a training camp in the Gulf region during next month’s winter break because of security concerns.

United do not play for 16 days between Premier League ties against Wolves on 1 February and at Chelsea on 17 February.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plans to give his squad a few days off before going away for a training camp. While the destination had not been decided, Qatar and Dubai would have been near the top of United’s list.

In January last year, Solskjaer took his squad to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and sent some of his players there again in November during an international break.

United have also previously used the Aspire Academy in Qatar’s capital Doha for a winter training camp.

There has been a rise in tensions in the region after senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US air strike in Baghdad and a Ukrainian International Airlines plane was accidentally shot down in Tehran, killing all 176 passengers.

Solskjaer has decided to keep his squad in Europe, most likely Spain or Portugal, to prepare for the rest of their campaign, which includes a Europa League last-32 meeting with Belgian side Club Bruges.

When asked if United’s plans had changed, Solskjaer said: “Yes, there are things that worry me more than football.

“We were looking at the Middle East but that is definitely not going to happen. We will stay in Europe.”

The latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice for Qatar is that tourists should “remain vigilant” amid a “heightened threat of terrorist attacks globally against UK interests and British nationals”. 

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