Iraq’s prime minister urged the football federations overseeing the Gulf Cup to reconsider moving next year’s tournament from the Iraqi city of Basra to Saudi Arabia.
During the inauguration ceremony for a highly anticipated stadium in Basra, Nouri al-Maliki said his country is fully prepared to host the tournament, saying it would enhance “the brotherly relations” between Iraq and Arab countries.
Envoys from Gulf federations decided this week to shift the tournament, citing concerns over preparations and security as Iraq is undergoing the deadliest spike in violence since 2008.
The Gulf Cup, which started in 1970, brings together Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Yemen and the reigning champion United Arab Emirates.
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