WATCH: UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to send football teams to Qatar for Gulf Cup

WATCH: UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to send football teams to Qatar for Gulf Cup

QLNews
By QLNews

While there has been no breakthrough in the Gulf crisis, an announcement by the blockading nations seems to indicate that tensions have eased a little. 

The region's love for sports, particularly football, is serving as the unifying factor. 

Blockading nations Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain have confirmed their national football teams will participate in this year’s Arabian Gulf Cup football tournament to be held in Qatar later this month.

The news comes in as a delightful surprise as the three nations had earlier decided to boycott the event. The teams have also never set foot in Qatar since the illegal blockade was imposed on the country in June 2017.

The UAE Football Association said in a statement on Tuesday it decided to participate in the 24th edition of the tournament, which has traditionally featured all the gulf nations, "after receiving a new invitation from the Arab Gulf Cup Federation."

Similar statements were issued by the Saudi and Bahraini football associations, announcing their participation after receiving new invitations.

Following the new announcements, the group matches will have to be redrawn to reflect the participation of the three countries.

This is also an interesting development particularly because a little less than two years ago, the blockading countries had asked Qatar to give up its right to host the World Cup in 2022 in exchange for lifting the siege imposed on it.

Qatar, however, has remained open to dialogue to resolve the crisis and reiterated that its doors are always open to all. HH the Amir had also underlined that the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be a tournament for all Arabs.

The previous Gulf Cup two years ago was originally scheduled to be held in Qatar but was moved to Kuwait in the aftermath of the blockade.

The 24th Arabian Gulf Cup is slated to take place in Qatar from November 24 to December 9 at the Khalifa International Stadium, a 40,000 capacity air-conditioned venue in Doha.

This is the fourth time Qatar is hosting the regional event.

In 2017, Oman won its second title after defeating the UAE in the final on penalties.

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Cover Image and Source: Al Jazeera
Inline Image Credit: Gulf News 
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