RAYANE MOUSSALLEM / AIPS*: The curtain has fallen on the 23rd Arabian Gulf Cup, launched in Kuwait on December 22 an concluding with the final between Oman and United Arab Emirates.
Despite having had only 10 days to prepare for the tournament, Kuwait managed to deliver a successful event on all levels with the presence of a record 3,450 accredited media, including 800 journalists, from more than 50 countries representing 36 channels and 211 newspapers.

The Gulf Cup had been scheduled for Qatar but was clouded in uncertainty because Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain refused to send their teams to Qatar due to the ongoing Gulf crisis.

When FIFA lifted a two-year suspension of Kuwait, with convenient timing, on December 6, Qatar offered its neighbour the opportunity to step in.

Kuwait had been barred from international competition in 2015 because of government interference in the national football association.

Sattam Alsahli, AIPS Asia president and head of the tournament’s media committee, said: “It is hard to prepare for a game in 10 days, let alone a whole tournament, the challenge was big but with the support of Prince Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah we managed to host a successful tournament with the co-operation of the organising committee.

“We faced some problems in selling TV sponsorship rights at the beginning but eventually we solved it. We also had some difficulties in issuing accreditations due to the fact that some journalists applied just few days before the tournament.”

More than 60 000 fans attended the host nation’s opening game with Saudi Arabia and second game against Oman at Jaber Al Ahmad International stadium where families were present in high numbers at the stadium.

** AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide. More information: www.AIPSmedia.com

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