Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long (right)
The Republic of Ireland will now face Qatar in Debrecen, Hungary of on 30 March before taking on the World Cup hosts in Dublin on 12 October

The Republic of Ireland and Qatar have agreed to reverse the order of their fixtures which will be non-competitive games in Group A of the European qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.

The decision has been been taken because of the Irish government’s Covid-19 quarantine rules.

The 30 March game – Qatar’s home match – will now take place in the Hungarian city of Debrecen.

The Republic will then face the World Cup hosts in Dublin on 12 October.

The Qatar FA had originally planned to base their training camp in Austria and to play Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in Vienna before their trip to Dublin.

However, Luxembourg’s visit to Vienna would have curtailed both Luxembourg and Qatar coming to Dublin as Austria is on the Irish government’s list of Category 2 countries which require strict quarantine rules for anybody visiting Ireland having spent time in Austria.

The 30 March game against Qatar in Debrecen follows the Republic’s opening qualifier away to Serbia on 24 March and the home game against Luxembourg at the Aviva Stadium three days later.

Qatar will now host Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in Hungary before the Ireland game.

The 12 October game in Dublin will come three days after the Republic’s away qualifier in Azerbaijan.

An FAI spokesperson said: “With the ever-changing situation in relation to travel restrictions around COVID-19 and Qatar’s agreement to move their matches out of Vienna, we have now ensured that the first home World Cup qualifier will take place in Dublin against Luxembourg.

“It has also been agreed by all concerned to reverse the Qatar fixtures and play Qatar in Debrecen this month and welcome them to Dublin in October when it is possible that we will have Ireland fans at the game as the battle against Covid-19 continues.”


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