Football teams remain in Gulf despite rising Middle East tension
Last Updated: 09/01/20 10:50am
Rangers and Celtic are both remaining at their training camps in Dubai despite rising tensions in the Middle East.
Both Old Firm clubs have said they are being guided by official advice from the Foreign Office, but currently have no plans to cut short their mid-winter breaks, regardless of the escalating situation following the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US airstrike in Baghdad last week.
Aberdeen are flying out to Dubai on Wednesday, but it's not just Scottish clubs in the Gulf region; Bayern Munich, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax are currently in Qatar.
Almost all Bundesliga sides use the winter break to escape to warmer climes; Frankfurt and Hertha Berlin are both in the USA, while many of the other sides from Germany's top two divisions are in Spain or Portugal.
Elsewhere, the Spanish Super Cup will be played in Saudi Arabia this week. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Atletico Madrid have all travelled to Jeddah for the revamped tournament despite huge criticism back in Spain.
Teams currently in the Gulf
- Bayern Munich
- PSV Eindhoven
- Real Madrid
- Atletico Madrid
The Emirates is not just popular with football clubs on winter training camps, it is also a favourite holiday destination and rehabilitation centre for players. Manchester United trio Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic have all been there recently to recover from injury.
'Business as usual for Old Firm'
Analysis from Sky Sports News reporter Charles Paterson in Dubai...
"We woke on Wednesday morning to the news of an Iranian missile attack on US airbases in Iraq, with the unsettling threat by Iran that they would target Dubai next if the US retaliate once more.
"Celtic fly home on Sunday, while Rangers play a friendly here on Saturday before returning to Scotland on Monday. Aberdeen only flew to the UAE on Wednesday, but are following a similar course of action - business as usual, until briefed otherwise.
"If Dubai becomes too risky a place to be, all three teams will need to arrange a hasty exit. Everyone here is, of course, optimistic that the situation will not deteriorate to that level, but it's another unique storyline to add to the drama of what has become a compelling Scottish Premiership season."