World Cup hosts Qatar will be placed in a European qualifying group to make them better prepared for the 2022 tournament.
The Gulf state is automatically qualified for the first winter World Cup, which starts in November 2022.
But UEFA chiefs have agreed to add Qatar to the five-team Group A of qualifying, which consists of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Serbia, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan.
While Qatar’s games will be friendlies, they will play the “spare” side in each set of games, ensuring that all five teams play 10 games between the start of qualifying in March and next November.
Uefa agreed a similar arrangement for Euro 2016 hosts France, to ensure Les Bleus had proper match-practice before hosting that tournament.
This will, though, be the first time a side which is from outside Europe and not a member of Uefa will have been integrated into the continent’s qualification fixture list.
But the Qataris, however, will not be able to test out their newly-built stadia or the training grounds they are constructing for the showpiece tournament.
Qatar have already completed five of their eight stadiums with work continuing apace on the others.
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