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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Saudi, UAE and Bahrain to take part in Gulf Cup in Qatar

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Muscat: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will take part in 24th Arabian Gulf Cup football tournament in Qatar this month, organisers said on Wednesday. The decision was taken during an urgent meeting in Doha on Wednesday after a request by the three teams two days before. The three Gulf states were not part of the tournament earlier and the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation (AGCFF) said in Doha that the Gulf Cup will now be held from November 26 until December 8, delaying by two days to accommodate the new teams. Saudi, Bahrain and the UAE announced they would accept their invitations to travel to Qatar to take part in the tournament.


The trio will join hosts Qatar and visitors Iraq, Kuwait, Oman and Yemen for the tournament which will be redrawn on Thursday to cover the extended line-up. "(We) officially accepted Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain's participation in the 24th Gulf Cup in Doha at their request," said Oman's Jassim al Shukali, vice-president of the AGCFF. As all the GCC countries have confirmed thier participation, the eight teams will be distributed into two groups. Hosts and Asian champions Qatar are expected to be in first group and defending champions Oman in second group.


POSITIVE RESPONSE The GCC football executive committee appreciated the positive response from the three teams to reverse their decision to boycott. The top football event at the GCC level will be played as round-robin during the group level matches. The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals. The champions of the Gulf Cup will receive $2 million as cash prize while the runners-up will get $1 million. All the participating teams will receive half million dollars.


The matches of the 24th edition of Gulf Cup will be played at Khalifa International Stadium (one of the Fifa World Cup 2022 venues) and the next stadium will be announced soon as they are matches to be played in the same time from both groups. The organising committee in Qatar began the selling process of the tickets for the matches from October 24 and it is available at the official tournament website. After the Bangladesh and India matches in World Cup qualifiers, the Red Warriors will gear up for the Gulf Cup and Koeman, the head coach of the national team, is fully aware of the importance of this tournament especially when Oman will defend their title.


 


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