Delayed UAE season on hold as pressure mounts on Kuwait to stick with original Gulf Cup dates

The start of the domestic football season in the UAE and neighbouring countries is on hold as uncertainty over the postponement, or not, of the 23rd Gulf Cup of Nations continues.

Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi was supposed to host the Arabian Gulf Super Cup on August 15, but the stadium seats are likely to remain empty until next month. Courtesy AGL
Powered by automated translation

The start of the domestic football season in the UAE and neighbouring countries is on hold as uncertainty over the postponement, or not, of the 23rd Gulf Cup of Nations continues.

The eight-nation tournament was first scheduled for this winter in Kuwait, from December 23 to January 5, but last week the host country’s football association, at a meeting of the region’s football chiefs, requested the tournament be postponed by a year as the stadiums would not be ready in time.

The GCC football chiefs accepted the proposal, but the decision has not been well received inside Kuwait and, according to media reports, the under-fire Kuwait football association is in talks with its regional colleagues in a bid to reverse the decision.

Confirmation of the talks have come from a Saudi football association official, who claimed the federation had received a call from Kuwait seeking a reversal of the decision and that “Saudi Arabia will make a decision in this regard soon”.

The bid to seek a reversal of the August 3 decision to postpone the Gulf Cup comes amid mounting pressure on the Kuwaiti football chief Sheikh Talal Al Fahad, with the country’s General Authority for Youth and Sports insisting the stadiums in Kuwait were ready to host the tournament as scheduled.

The UAE’s Pro League Committee had decided to delay the start of the league season by a month following the decision to postpone the Gulf Cup, but that decision might be forced into abeyance until a final decision is made.

The season originally was to start on Saturday with the Super Cup clash between Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ain and the President’s Cup winners Al Nasr, with the league scheduled to kick off five days later.

Follow us on Twitter at NatSportUAE