FIFA lifts ban on Kuwaiti football

From out in the cold to the red hot centre. Qatar offers Kuwait Gulf Cup hosting rights

The timing could not be more crucial following a meeting on Monday - just 18 days before the tournament is scheduled to start - of the Gulf Cup Football Federation.

In a grand gesture combining great sportsmanship with diplomatic maturity that has been the hallmark of Qatar's dealings with its neighbours throughout the ongoing blockade, the country has offered Kuwait the opportunity to host the prestigious regional Gulf Cup football tournament.

If, as seems likely, the tournament is now given the green light it will be played between Qatar, Iraq, Oman, Kuwait and Yemen.

Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain have pulled out of the eight-team tournament last month following a deepening row with Qatar. "The suspension of the Kuwait Football Association is lifted", FIFA's president Gianni Infantino announced alongside a Kuwaiti official in a video shared on Twitter.

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Kuwait was suspended in October 2015 over a government bill which the global governing body said interfered in the independence of the country's FA and fell foul of the Federation Internationale de Football Association statutes.

Infantino will be present at a press conference in the Jaber International Stadium soon to officially announce the end of the ban.

Kuwaiti athletes did not compete in FIFA's 2018 World Cup qualifiers due to the ban and could only compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics as an independent team.

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