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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Fifa president Gianni Infantino to attend opening days of the Gulf Cup in Kuwait

The Italian made announcement after confirmation the tournament has been to Kuwait from Qatar.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino attends a tour of the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City. Yasser Al-Zayyat / AFP Photo
Fifa president Gianni Infantino attends a tour of the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City. Yasser Al-Zayyat / AFP Photo

Fifa president Gianni Infantino has confirmed he plans to attend the first two days of the Gulf Cup in Kuwait later this month as he paid tribute to the sides, including the UAE, participating in the event

The tournament was moved to Kuwait from Qatar on Thursday after the country had its ban from being involved in Fifa sanctioned competitions over the Kuwaiti government interfering in the work of the football associations there.

Kuwait had been due to host the event in 2016, but it was postponed due to the suspension and was scheduled to then take place in Qatar between December 22 and January 8.

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But Kuwait will now participate in the competition, as well as becoming the home country for the event, with a new draw reported to be due to be made on Monday.

Infatino said in a statement on Fifa's website: "It will be a great honour for me to attend the opening games of the 2017 Gulf Cup in Kuwait on December 22 and 23.

"This tournament embraces the spirit of sportsmanship and is a great example of the values that Fifa and football strive to spread all around the world.

"In this context, I would like to express my gratitude to the teams of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen for participating in this tournament."

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain's participation had been in doubt when the tournament was being held in Qatar, due to the boycott they imposed on their fellow GCC state in June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and extremist groups.

While the UAE's participation is yet to be officially confirmed, Marwan bin Ghalita, the UAE Football Association president, told Abu Dhabi Sports on Friday that he and the country's coach Alberto Zaccheroni were looking forward to taking part in the two-week event in Kuwait.

“The UAE will participate in the upcoming Gulf Cup in Kuwait,” he said. ” I talked with the coach and he wished to participate in the tournament.”