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Saudi, UAE, Bahrain will play in 2019 Gulf Football Cup in Qatar
Published in Ahram Online on 13 - 11 - 2019

The national football teams of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain will participate in the upcoming Gulf Cup to be held in Qatar from 24 November to 6 December, according to separate statements published overnight by the Saudi, UAE and Bahrain football associations.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain severed political, travel and diplomatic ties with Doha in May 2017.
The three countries did not attend the draw for the previous tournament two years ago, which was originally set to be played in the Qatari capital, and only competed after that tournament was moved to Kuwait.
Oman – the winners of the 2017 edition – Iraq, Yemen and Kuwait had agreed to play in the tournament.
Saudi Arabia has won the tournament three times, the last time in 2003, while UAE has two titles to their name — in 2007 and 2013.
It was not immediately clear if Saudi, Emirati, and Bahraini fans would travel to Qatar for the event, as the three boycotting states have banned their citizens from visiting Doha.
When Qatar won the continental Asian Cup held in the UAE earlier this year, there were practically no Qatari fans in attendance.
Emirati political science Professor Abdul Khaleq Abdulla tweeted on Tuesday morning, "I promise you a solution to the Gulf crisis sooner than you expect."
Media reports have said that this tweet from a prominent public figure in the UAE and the announcement of the three football associations of their participation in the Gulf Cup tournament are a sign that the protracted dispute may be easing.
"I do not think there is a major convergence in the Qatar crisis," said Ahmed Mostafa, a UAE-based journalist.
"Qatar still continues its practices that sparked this crisis," added Mostafa.
The participation in world sports tournaments is binding under the nations' membership in FIFA.

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