The United Arab Emirates has joined Bahrain in pulling out of the 2015 men's World Handball Championships in Qatar in an apparent political boycott.

The International Handball Federation announced the latest withdrawal on Monday without giving a reason. Bahrain's boycott was announced last Friday.

The UAE, like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, recalled their ambassadors from Doha in March to protest Qatari support for Islamist groups across the region.

The 24-nation tournament is scheduled to start in Doha on January 15.

The UAE and Bahrain qualified nine months ago by reaching the semifinals of Asia's continental championships, won by Qatar.

The IHF says in a statement its ruling council will deal with the withdrawals at a November 21 meeting.

Source: AP