FIFA’s lifting of Kuwait ban opens door for staging of Gulf Cup in Qatar  

Gulf Cup draw

By Andrew Warshaw

December 6 – Organisers of this month’s Gulf Cup in Qatar look set to imminently announce whether the event can go ahead, with prospects given a huge boost by FIFA lifting its suspension of Kuwait after two years in the sporting wilderness.

Last month, Qatar’s hosting of the tournament, important both from an organisational and public relations standpoint amid the ongoing narrative over the 2026 World Cup, was plunged into jeopardy when Saudi Arabia and two of its allies enforcing the political and trade blockade of the country were withdrawn from the eight-nation competition.

Technically the tournament can go ahead with five nations but that can only happen if Kuwait takes part – and until today the Kuwaitis remained suspended by FIFA despite the recent election of a new-look federation.

But in a statement FIFA announced that its Council Bureau, comprising confederation presidents, had lifted the suspension “after official confirmation that the Kuwait Parliament has adopted a new Sports Law of Kuwait, which replaces all the previous ones and has been amended in order to be fully compliant with the FIFA Statutes and requirements.”

The timing could not be more crucial following a meeting on Monday – just 18 days before the tournament is scheduled to start – of the Gulf Cup Football Federation.

If, as seems likely, the tournament is now given the green light it will be played between Qatar, Iraq, Oman, Kuwait and Yemen. Otherwise, it seems certain to be scrapped, another kick in the teeth for Qatar’s 2026 World Cup organisers in their ongoing struggle to gain global moral support.

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