Gulf Cup Cancellation Looms As UAE, Saudi Arabia And Bahrain Pull Out And Kuwait Is Still Banned

United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have decided to pull out of the Gulf Cup which was suppose to be hosted in Qatar later this year after missing a deadline to confirm their participation, organizers said on Friday.

The three countries cut trade, diplomatic and transportation ties with Qatar in June this year, including banning their citizens from traveling to Qatar, over political disagreements and mainlyaccusations of terrorism support.

Since 1970, the Gulf Nations Cup has been held every two years. It is hosted during the winter in December by pausing the local leagues, the tournament consist of eight teams (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman and Yemen) with two groups of four, whereby the top two in each group go through to the semi-final and the winners then to the final.

Also read – Supreme Committee Releases Statement On Human Rights Watch

Gulf Cup Cancellation Looms As UAE, Saudi Arabia And Bahrain Pull Out And Kuwait Is Still Banned


FIFA imposed a ban on Kuwait’s Football Association in 2015 over government interference, which has not been lifted yet. So that makes it four teams that are not taking part at the Gulf Cup, a tournament that is not under the official FIFA competitions but a very important competition for the region and it’s fans.

Kuwait hold the record for most wins with 10 titles, while Qatar are the holders having won the last edition held in Saudi Arabia in 2014.

In the draw held by AGCFF, Qatar has been placed in Group A with Bahrain, Iraq and Yemen (Bahrain will not be participating), while Group B consists of Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE (UAE and Saudi Arabia will not be participating).

If FIFA lifts the ban on Kuwait, which is highly unlikely, Kuwait will join Group B. They are the only chance that the tournament might go ahead. The AGCFF has given Kuwait a November 30 deadline to confirm their participation.

Also read – Saudi Arabia To Allow Women Into Sports Stadiums In 2018

“The three missing Gulf countries did not confirm their participation in the tournament and did not respond to the letters sent to them by the Secretariat with a Nov. 13 deadline. We have given 15 days to Kuwait to solve their problems.” Jasim al-Rumehi, Secretary-General of the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation (AGCFF), said in a statement.

When Kuwait FA’s ban was announced back in 2015, FIFA said in their statement “The suspension will be lifted only when the KFA and its members (the clubs) are able to carry out their activities and obligations independently.

“As a result of this decision, no team from Kuwait of any sort (including clubs) can have any international sporting contact (art. 14 par. 3 of the FIFA Statutes), and neither the KFA nor any of its members or officials can benefit from any development programme, course or training from FIFA or the AFC.”

Gulf Cup Cancellation Looms As UAE, Saudi Arabia And Bahrain Pull Out And Kuwait Is Still Banned


UAE FA Chairman Marwan bin Ghalaita told Reuters that the UAEFA has informed organisers that “the Gulf Cup cannot be played without Kuwait”, adding that the request was “nothing political”.

Kuwait has made some progress by electing Sheikh Ahmad Al-Yousuf Al Sabah, as the new chairman of Kuwait Football Association (KFA), who said his first priority is to persuade FIFA to lift Kuwait FA’s ban.

A letter was written to FIFA earlier this year pleading with them to remove the sanctions in place, but it was rejected. The new chairman with support from GCC allies has been in talks with FIFA to get the ban lifted.

Also read – President Sheikh Khalifa Calls To Allow Children Of Female Emirati Citizens To Participate In Official Sport Events

The country was also excluded from participating at the Rio 2016 games.

Kuwait’s national football team has suffered the most as a result of the ongoing Government interference as they were banned from competing in FIFA 2018 World Cup qualification rounds and the 2019 Asian Cup, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates.

In March, the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) warned Kuwait that their state of sport is “deteriorating rapidly” and that the country is currently going through an “alarming decline”.


You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Most Popular Article

To Top