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Saudi, UAE, Bahrain confirm Gulf Cup participation

Tournament to return to full strength as the three nations decide to accept 'renewed invitations' from AGCFF.
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A slice of action from the match between Qatar and UAE at the AFC Asian Cup earlier this year in the UAE. File photo

In a sensational development, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, three of the countries involved in the blockade against Qatar, have decided to take part in the Arabian Gulf Cup football tournament, beginning in Doha on November 24.

The three nations had earlier decided to stay away from the tournament, making it a five-team affair featuring Qatar, Oman, Iraq, Yemen and Kuwait. But in a late night announcement on their Twitter accounts, the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi football associations said they had decided to accept ‘renewed invitations’.

“Upon renewal of invitation from the Arabian Gulf Cup Football Federation, the United Arab Emirates Football Association decided to participate in the tournament,” the UAE Football Association said in a statement.

The Bahrain Football Association also posted a similar message on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Saudi Arabia were the last to confirm their presence at the most prestigious football event in the region. The Saudi Arabain Football Federation posted a statement on their Twitter handle, stating they had decided to accept renewed invitation from the AGCFF.

The participation of the three nations will restore the tournament to its full strength, making it a grand affair. It would also necessitate the draw for the event to be made again.

As per the original draw, the five teams were to meet in a single round-robin league format, with the league toppers emerging champions. The event was scheduled to conclude on December 6.

Meanwhile, the news was welcomed widely by fans across the region who took to social media platforms to express their joy.