By Andrew Warshaw
December 7 – In an unexpected twist, Qatar has offered Kuwait the chance to take over as host nation of the forthcoming Gulf Cup in order to ensure full participation of those eligible to take part, according to unconfirmed local reports.
Yesterday FIFA lifted its two-year suspension of Kuwait, technically paving the way for the Gulf Cup – which must have a minimum five entries – to go ahead.
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into jeopardy when Saudi Arabia and two of its allies enforcing the political and trade blockade of the country were withdrawn from the eight-nation competition.
The Gulf Cup Football Federation is now expected to give the green light to the much-troubled tournament, which is due to start December 18 after weeks of uncertainty.
If it remains in Qatar it will comprise the host nation plus Iraq, Oman, Kuwait and Yemen. But the Gulf Times reports that following Kuwait’s re-instatement by FIFA, Qatar Football Association president Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani has offered the Kuwaitis – original hosts before being hit by the FIFA ban – the chance to take back the event in order to potentially restore its full eight-nation participation.
This has not yet been confirmed but would throw up another conundrum: whether the Saudis and their blockading allies would be prepared to play against Qatar regardless of where the tournament takes place in the Gulf region.
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