Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq said Thursday it had obtained approval from Qatar to host the next soccer gulf cup of nations which was scheduled to be hosted by the beleaguered Gulf kingdom.
The Iraqi sports minister, Abdul-Hussein Abtan, obtained the approval from Qatar, and the kingdom’s football federation chief is expected to make an announcement to that end today, a statement by the ministry said.
Abtan had earlier noted that he was given promises from Qatar that it would declare relocating the tournament to Iraq during the three-nation friendly tournament which kicked off in Iraq’s Basra on Wednesday.
Iraq is currently hosting a three-nation tournament featuring Qatari, Syrian and Iraqi national squads. It is launched in celebration of a recent decision by the world football body, FIFA, to lift a decades-long ban on international games in Iraq.
Iraqi pitches had not seen internationals games since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait under late leader Saddam Hussein based on a FIFA decision that excluded domestic matches.
“We are allowing international matches to be staged in the cities of Erbil, Basra and Karbala,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino was quoted saying earlier this month after a meeting of the FIFA Council in Bogota.
The Gulf football federation approved in December Qatar’s request to host the 24th Gulf tournament. That came amid a political crisis that saw Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates severing relations with Qatar accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in their domestic affairs.
Oman became champion of the cup’s 23rd edition in January. It was hosted by Kuwait.