x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Hamman wants tournament every four years

The Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed bin Hammam has suggested prolonging the frequency of the staging of the Gulf Cup to preserve its importance.

MUSCAT // The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammed bin Hammam has suggested prolonging the frequency of the staging of the Gulf Cup to preserve its importance. Hammam has urged the organisers of the high-profile event to stage the tournament every four years, instead of the current biennial format. Hammam, who attended the opening ceremony, hinted that the crowded AFC and international calendars mean tournaments like the Gulf Cup, which is not sanctioned by AFC of Fifa, may suffer.

"[The Gulf Cup] is an important tournament that has led to improvement of the game in the region. So to avoid being sanctioned, we suggested that it could be held every four years because we have professional league competitions in the continent and the players have many obligations with their clubs in domestic and continental competitions. "Many players of the teams participating are playing as professionals outside their countries and the clubs have the right not to release them but if the tournament is held every four years that will help the players to be released by the clubs."

His suggestion comes in the wake of concerted efforts initiated by Oman to have sanctions against Kuwait removed by Fifa to allow them to take part in the tournament. sports@thenational.ae