FIFA lifts Kuwait ban; Gulf Cup to go ahead
Clouds of uncertainity that hung over the hosting of the prestigious 23rd edition of Gulf Cup Football Championship in Doha, Qatar from December 22 were cleared on Wednesday with the world football governing body, FIFA, lifting the ban on Kuwait.
Said al Balushi, the chief executive of the Oman Football Association (OFA), confirmed to Muscat Daily on Wednesday that the Gulf Cup will go ahead with the opening ceremony will be held on
December 22 but details of the fixtures will be finalised at a meeting of the Gulf Cup Football Federation on Monday.
“With the lifting of Kuwait ban, it means the basic requirement to have a minimum of five teams for the Gulf Cup is met. The tournament will be played on a single round-robin format,” said Balushi.
Qatar, Iraq, Oman, Kuwait and Yemen will be the teams participating with Oman coach Pim Verbeek announcing a camp by calling up 26 probables on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain have pulled out of the eight-team tournament last month following a deepening row with Qatar.
FIFA announced on Wednesday it was lifting its suspension of Kuwait, after the Gulf state's parliament adopted a law meant to end government interference in the sport. "The suspension of the Kuwait Football Association is lifted," FIFA's president Gianni Infantino announced alongside a Kuwaiti official in a video shared on Twitter.
Infantino was visiting Kuwait to announce the eagerly-anticipated decision.
World sports bodies led by FIFA and the IOC suspended Kuwait in October 2015 for the second time since 2010 over alleged government meddling in sports. The ban meant Kuwait missed out on the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 Asian Cup, and before that the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
On Sunday, the Kuwaiti parliament passed a new law in line with FIFA's requirements and on Tuesday, Kuwaiti clubs elected Ahmed al Yousef al Sabah as the head of a new football federation.