Bahrain, UAE barred from retaking worlds places

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) — The International Handball Federation has barred Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates from retaking their places at the world championships despite ending apparent political boycotts of the event in Qatar.

The IHF says its ruling council fined the two federations 100,000 Swiss francs ($103,000) each for “withdrawal after the championship draw.”

Saudi Arabia and Iceland will now play in the 24-nation field.

Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their teams this month in apparent protest of Qatar’s foreign policy supporting Islamic groups. Both federations reversed their position last week.

The IHF says its council “considered that the two letters of withdrawal were final and, as a consequence did not consider any further correspondence.”

The tournament will be played Jan. 15-Feb. 1.