Gulf Cup to return to Kuwait after FIFA lift ban

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Kuwait will host this month’s Gulf Cup of Nations soccer tournament, instead of Qatar, after FIFA lifted a two-year ban on the country’s football association.

The transfer would go up for final approval by the Gulf Football Associations on Monday.

FIFA suspended Kuwait from participating in international football competitions in October 2015 over a government bill which it said interfered in the independence of the country’s FA and fell foul of FIFA statutes.

The global soccer body lifted the ban on Wednesday.

The change of venue could prove a breakthrough for this year’s championship, scheduled to start on Dec. 22, as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain had planned not to attend the event in Qatar, organizers said last month.

The three countries cut ties with Qatar in June, over Qatar’s support terrorism.

The UAE Football Association’s president has said his country’s boycott was not related to the political crisis between Gulf states but rather was because the tournament should be played only if Kuwait could participate.

The Gulf Cup of Nations, which is held every two years and rotates location, usually involves Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman and Yemen.

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