Iraq pull out of Gulf Cup as tournament is moved to KSA
The decision was confirmed by the Iraqi Ministry of Youth and Sports, according to BBC Arabia.
Earlier, Shaikh Ali Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, President of the Bahraini Football Association, announced that the Gulf Cup had been switched because of reports that raised concerns over the level of preparation for hosting the competition.
“It was decided to transfer the 22nd edition of the Gulf Cup from Basra to Jeddah,” said Al Khalifa after a meeting of the presidents of the football associations of Gulf countries.
The decision to transfer the tournament initially slated for December was taken due to the ban on Iraq’s hosting of international matches imposed by world football’s governing body Fifa. “The next edition will take place in Basra on condition that Fifa lift their ban on Iraq hosting international competitions,” Al Khalifa.
Iraq had also been due to host the previous edition of the regional event, which was eventually held in Bahrain because of security concerns and delays in building infrastructure.
The event will include teams from Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. The UAE are the current champions after they won the title in January this year, beating Iraq 2-1 in the final.