Arabian Gulf Cup 2023: Where is it, who's playing and how to watch in the UAE?

The 25th edition of the tournament, comprising eight Gulf nations, kicked off in Iraq on Friday

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The 25th Arabian Gulf Cup kicked off on Friday, in Basra, Iraq. Here’s the lowdown on an historic event in the country.

What is it?

The tournament is organised by the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation and includes its eight member nations: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen.

Principally to take place every two years, the competition has been often affected by a number of issues — both political and organisational — meaning it was last played in 2019. This month’s tournament will take place in Iraq, marking the country’s hosting of a major football tournament for the first time in almost 44 years.

Where is it?

Basra. The two venues used will be the Basra International Stadium and the recently opened Al Minaa Olympic Stadium.

When is it?

January 6-19.

Who’s competing?

The eight members of the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation. They have been drawn in two groups of four, with Group A featuring Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Group B comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. The top two from each group advance to the semi-finals on January 16, with the final held three days later at Basra International Stadium.

Group A

  • January 6: Iraq v Oman
  • January 6: Saudi Arabia v Yemen
  • January 9: Oman v Yemen
  • January 9: Iraq v Saudi Arabia
  • January 12: Iraq v Yemen
  • January 12: Saudi Arabia v Oman

Group B

  • January 7: UAE v Bahrain
  • January 7: Kuwait v Qatar
  • January 10: UAE v Kuwait
  • January 10: Qatar v Bahrain
  • January 13: UAE v Qatar
  • January 13: Bahrain v Kuwait

Who are the past winners?

Kuwait are way out in front in terms of success, with 10 titles in all. However, they have won only once in the past 25 years (2010). Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have each lifted the trophy three times, with the UAE (2007, 2013) and Oman each winning it twice. Bahrain are the defending champions, having triumphed three years ago when they defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the final. The portents are good for Iraq, though: they won the first of their three crowns the last time they hosted, in 1979.

How to watch in UAE?

Football fans eager to watch the tournament can catch it primarily on AD Sports and Dubai Sports.

Updated: January 07, 2023, 10:40 AM