By Sports Reporter/ Doha
The winners of the 24th Arabian Gulf football tournament will walk away with a whopping $2mn, organisers said yesterday.
The prestigious tournament, the symbol of supremacy in the region as far as football is concerned, will be played in Doha from November 24 to December 6, with Qatar taking on Yemen on the first day.
Kuwait, who have won the event 10 times, Iraq and Oman are the other teams confirmed for the tournament.
The teams will compete in a round-robin format, with the side finishing top of the table claiming the coveted trophy. All matches would be played at the Khalifa International Stadium.
At a press conference following the official draw, Jassim al-Shukali, the Vice President of the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation (AGCFF), expressed his confidence in the tournament being a resounding success.
“The State of Qatar is sparing no effort to ensure that the event is a success on all fronts,” he said, adding that the prize money offered is unprecedented.
“The winners will take home $2mn, while the runners up will receive $1mn. Each participating team will be getting $1mn to start with,” al-Shukali said.
Regarding the next edition of Gulf Cup and where it will be held, al-Shukali said that the AGCFF has received a request from the Iraqi Football Federation to host it. The issue will be discussed during the General Assembly meeting of the AGCFF,” he added.
This is the fourth time Qatar will be hosting the tournament; the Maroons have twice won the event on home soil – in 1992 and 2004 – and will be aiming for a glorious double in 2019 after lifting the AFC Asian Cup in February.
The Arabian Gulf Cup was conceptualised in the 1960s, with the first edition taking place in 1970. Kuwait became the first country to win the title after defeating Bahrain.
Jassim al-Rumaihi, General Secretary of the AGCFF, said: “We are pleased to announce that five teams will compete in this year’s edition of the Arabian Gulf Cup, including the reigning champions of Asia Qatar and nations who, between them, have claimed this prestigious trophy 18 times.”
Al-Rumaihi continued: “We are looking forward to hosting thousands of fans from across the region as Qatar continues its preparations for the FIFA World Cup in 2022.”
The tournament venue, Khalifa International Stadium, reopened in May 2017 following an extensive redevelopment to prepare it for Qatar 2022. Located in Aspire Zone, this historic venue has previously hosted the Arabian Gulf Cup, the Asian Games and the AFC Asian Cup.
The stadium, which recently hosted the IAAF World Athletics Championships, is equipped with state-of-the-art cooling technology, which allows it to be used throughout the year.
Tickets will be available in three categories and priced at QR50, 30 and 10. As well as online – from November 1, 2019 – they will be available to buy from the Mall of Qatar, Doha Festival City, Villaggio, Souq Waqif and Hamad International Airport.
Saud al-Mohannadi, Chairman of the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup Local Organising Committee and Vice President, Qatar Football Association, said: “We are excited to again be hosting the Arabian Gulf Cup in Qatar.
“This is yet another opportunity to host a major football event as Qatar continues its preparations for the FIFA Club World Cup, which will be held here this year and in 2020, and the FIFA World Cup, which will kick off here in just over three years’ time.”
During the draw ceremony the tournament emblem and mascot were unveiled. The emblem showcases the Qatari flag and a football, and symbolises the country’s passion for the beautiful game.
The mascot is an oyster holding a pearl called ‘Sodeifi’, the Arabic word for ‘shell’. The mascot features the colours of the Qatari flag and pays homage to the country’s seafaring and pearl diving past.
Following the draw ceremony, AGCFF General Secretary al-Rumaihi said preparations for the tournament are continuing apace.
“The preparations are going on very well. We have great co-ordination between various committees. We have been meeting once a week to debate and discuss matters so that any shortcomings are sorted out,” al-Rumaihi added.
Al-Rumaihi also said that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain were invited to take part in the tournament several times but “there was no response from them.”
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