Is Basra ready to host the Gulf Cup?
The secretaries of soccer federations in the Arab Gulf and Yemen are set to visit the Iraqi city of Basra to oversee the preparations there for hosting the 21st Arab Gulf Cup tournament due to be held in January 2013.
The visit is aimed at checking various sport facilities and reviewing the security situation in the southern Iraqi city of about 2 million people. The tournament’s organizational committee had promised to deliver a report in April that would dispel fears about the security situation in Basra.
So far, 50 percent of the sport projects have been completed in Basra, which has a primary soccer stadium with 65,000 seats and a secondary, much smaller one with roughly 10,000 seats.
The GCC and Yemen soccer federations have given the competition’s organizing committee in Iraq nine months to provide a detailed report on the ability of Basra to host the event.
If Basra were found incapable of hosting the Gulf Cup competition, the GCC and Yemen soccer federations would likely decide to transfer the event to Bahrain, a country that has been swept by social unrest and is yet to fully gain normalcy of life.
The secretary of Bahrain’s soccer federation Abd el-Rahman Sayar is doubtful about travelling to Iraq because all flights between Bahrain and Iraq have been cancelled since the wake of the political crisis that began in the tiny Gulf state on February14.
(Translated from Arabic original by Mustapha Ajbaili of Al Arabiya. He can be reached at: [email protected])