The Iraqi sports fans and circles are awaiting the meeting of the general assembly of the Arab Gulf Cup Federation to resolve the file for hosting the "Gulf 25" tournament in Basra Governorate (south of the country), following the initial approval announced by the Federation in 2019.
For years, Iraq has been seeking to host the most prominent Gulf championship, where football fans hope to enter the Arab championships in their country, in light of the progress in the infrastructure and the development of the local league with the participation of various teams from several provinces.
Iraq stalled hosting the championship more than once, starting with the "Gulf 21 ″, up to the current championship, for reasons often related to lack of stability and security turmoil, but the Iraqi Olympic Committee confirmed that the time has come to receive the Arab brothers on the land of Basra Al-Fayhaa."
Al-Shammari confirmed that Basra is technically and administratively ready to host the Gulf Championship (Al-Jazeera)
The head of the Olympic Committee in Basra, Mushtaq Al-Shammari, told Al-Jazeera Net that the tournament is due to Iraq, since it is one of the main teams in it. And the societal security it enjoys.
Al-Shammari added that the biggest evidence of the city's readiness was hosted by the Kuwaiti delegation during the last period, where they held a match in it, wandered around, and lived all the atmosphere of the championship, and we hope that the beautiful statements we hear from the Gulf federations will be translated into a practical decision that supports Iraq in hosting the tournament.
He indicated that Basra owns the Sports City, and it has two ready stadiums;
One of them has a capacity of 65 thousand spectators, and the other 10 thousand spectators, as well as other stadiums, facilities, centers and hotels, and our homes are open before those hotels.
The Iraqi public is known for its passion for football (Reuters)
The Gulf Federation earlier announced a trip to the "inspection team" to find out the readiness of the Iraqi file, and closely examine its sports facilities and infrastructure, during the period between January 25 and 28, before making a decisive decision regarding the identity of the host of the next Gulf version.
However, the committee was unable to visit Iraq due to a mistake in the administrative arrangements, as well as the outbreak of the Corona epidemic, which postponed the visit date to a later time.
The "inspection team" will visit the Iraqi city of Basra on January 25-28, to assess the readiness to host # Gulf_25.
#AGCFF @uaefa_ae @Yemenfa pic.twitter.com/OYR8LTBc7u
- The Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation (@AGCFF) January 22, 2021
The Executive Office of the Gulf Federation, headed by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, met last week through "video technology" with the participation of all members and the Secretary-General of the Federation, where it recommended holding a meeting of the heads of the Gulf federations within one month to make the final decision to name the country organizing the "Gulf 25".
Shamil Kamel expects the issue of hosting to be resolved at the next meeting of the General Authority of the Gulf Union (Al-Jazeera)
In turn, the representative of Iraq in the Executive Office of the Gulf Federation, Shamil Kamel, said that the Iraqi masses are waiting for the next meeting of the General Assembly, which is made up of the heads of the federations, within a month, when the issue of hosting is to be resolved, indicating that a request has been submitted to the General Secretariat for the Gulf Cup in which we propose to hold the meeting in Baghdad.
Kamel added - during his speech to Al-Jazeera Net - that the inspection committee was unable to visit Iraq due to the complicated circumstances, so we asked for a second reassessment, and we are fully prepared for any committee that will visit the country to make sure of the infrastructure and the tournament preparations.
Basra Governorate - rich in oil - has several stadiums belonging to the Premier League clubs, as well as Sports City, which is one of the major projects in the country, as it hosts the Palm Trunk Stadium, which can accommodate 65,000 spectators, with a wonderful architectural design, in addition to the Al Fayha Stadium, which can accommodate 10,000 Spectators, as well as apartment buildings, an Olympic swimming pool, 5-star hotels, and a sports medicine hospital.
The security situation is the most prominent challenge facing the organizers of the tournament, as the city witnesses from time to time clan conflicts, in which light and medium weapons are often used, which represents a gap in the strength of the Iraqi file.
But Mushtaq Al-Shammari asks: "Have the Saudi and Kuwaiti national teams not visited us during the last period ... Will these countries sacrifice their children?"
Pointing out that security is stable in Basra through awareness and the media.
Ali Nuri believes that Iraq needs an Arab and Gulf decision to hold the championship on its soil (Al-Jazeera)
Gulf and Arab decision
In turn, the presenter of the "Super" program on Iraq 24 channel Ali Nuri believes that Iraq needs an Arab and Gulf decision from the concerned federations, and this decision is awaiting the Iraqi fans and all sports circles, and according to the information received, there is almost unanimity on the part of the heads of federations to hold the championship in Basra, and this stems from the brothers' keenness on the return of Iraq to the Arab and Gulf football arena.
Nuri added to Al-Jazeera Net that many Gulf countries have supported Iraqi sports, most notably Qatar, which has been open to Iraqi sports, during the past years, by setting up training camps and embracing various activities, so there will be great reliance on them in this file.
During the past three years, Iraq hosted the national teams of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Syria, and in 2018 it organized the International Friendship Championship, in Basra Governorate.
Basra Stadium hosted more than one Gulf national team during the past years (Al-Jazeera)
Sports circles hope that the championship - if hosted by Iraq - will reflect on the economic situation, and highlight the city of Basra, as sports commentator Abdullah Al-Ameri says that the tourism and economic sides will be strongly present, and they will give Basra a push forward, if the occasion is well utilized.
Al-Amiri added to Al-Jazeera Net that the most prominent current obstacles lie in the security aspect, as the Gulf delegations are concerned about the security confusion in the country, and this makes the task a big task for the government, and the relevant ministries, such as the Interior and Defense, in order to deliver messages of reassurance of full readiness to secure that occasion.
The idea of the Gulf Cup goes back to Saudi Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who launched it in 1968, and Bahrain, which hosted the tournament in 1970, was adopted by Bahrain, with the participation of 4 teams: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, and then turned into an official tournament that continues to this day.