Soccer: Asian champs Qatar first Gulf side invited to CONCACAF Gold Cup

(Reuters) - Asian Cup champions Qatar have been invited to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, becoming the first side from the Middle East to take part in the tournament following a joint agreement between the two confederations.

Qatar, who host the next men’s World Cup finals in 2022, have been invited to the Gold Cup next year and in 2023, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said in a statement on Thursday.

AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said the agreement that was signed in 2017 was designed for not only greater co-operation between the confederations but also to help develop match officials and operational staff.

Qatar will be the second Asian team to take part in the Gold Cup, which is the continental tournament for teams from the CONCACAF region of North and Central America and the Caribbean, after South Korea were invited in 2000 and 2002.

The 2021 Gold Cup is scheduled for the United States from July 2-25.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Christopher Cushing