Doha: Football yet again emerged as the winner after the 23rd edition of the Gulf Cup, which was scheduled to be held in Doha from December 22 to January 8, was offered to Kuwait.
The tournament had hit a roadblock after it emerged that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, who all cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June, would be withdrawing from it.
But the scenario changed drastically after FIFA revoked Kuwait’s and the tournament was offered to them as a gesture of friendship and solidarity.
“On the basis of consultations between the leadership of both countries it has been agreed to transfer the Gulf Cup tournament to Kuwait,” Qatar Football Association president Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani said on Friday.
“The Gulf Cup is an event to be celebrated by people of all countries of the region and has a prominent place in the hearts of the people. We are sure Kuwait will be perfect hosts,” he added.
Meanwhile, FIFA president Gianni Infantino congratulated Qatar for its gesture.
“The initiative to move the 2017 Gulf Cup from Qatar to Kuwait to celebrate this event is a strong and symbolic sign,” Infantino said.
“In this respect, I would like to congratulate and thank the Qatari football authorities for their honourable gesture,” he added.
“The 2017 Gulf Cup will be a great celebration of football in the whole region and it sends out a very powerful message to have all of the eight teams participating in Kuwait,” the FIFA chief said.
Infantino also congratulated Kuwait for drafting a new sports law that helped in having the FIFA ban lifted.
“It is a great pleasure to welcome the Kuwaiti football community back in the international football arena. During my visit to Kuwait earlier this week, I have witnessed with my own eyes the true happiness of all the players and fans in Kuwait to finally be back,” he said.