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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Qatar ‘withdraws’ from hosting Gulf Cup to give way to Iraq: reports

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Fans in Iraq have been waiting for years to host the popular regional cup.

The Qatar Football Association withdrew its bid to host the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup to allow for the regional tournament to be held in Iraq, according to reports.

Iraq was the only country that submitted a request to host the tournament in its Basra governorate and had planned to allocate three stadiums for the matches.

However, despite excitement from local fans, the Gulf Union ruled out Iraq as the host nation because it “was not ready” for the tournament.

On Monday, Qatar Football Association submitted an official request to the Gulf Football Association expressing its support for Iraq to host the cup. The federation also issued an official withdrawal from hosting the regional tournament, BeIN Sports reported.

The official letter expressed Qatar’s support for Iraq and its football fans, highlighting how people in the war-torn country have been waiting for decades to host the tournament on Iraqi soil. 

In response, several Iraqi fans launched a hashtag to thank Qatar for the gesture of goodwill. 

“My heart goes to all Qataris. We supported you yesterday and cheered for your team and now you showed greater support to us,” one tweet read.

Read also: Qatar tackles gender equality in sports with new policy

“Your positions will not be forgotten, and your relinquishment to Iraq for hosting the tournament adds to your many positions. May God protect Qatar, its leaders and its people,” it added.

Earlier this month, the Gulf Football Association said the decision to announce the host country will be made in an official meeting in April.

Meanwhile, Qatar is gearing up to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 next year and anticipates some 1.5 million fans from around the world to attend the global sporting event.


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