FIFA commends Qatar for transferring boycotted Gulf Cup to Kuwait
FIFA has commended Qatar for agreeing to move the 2017 Gulf Cup to Kuwait after football's governing body lifted a ban on the Kuwait Football Association.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino thanked Qatar football officials on Friday for moving the contest, which had been snubbed by three Gulf states - Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain - due to a diplomatic boycott against Doha.
"I would like to congratulate and thank the Qatari football authorities for their honourable gesture," Infantino said, according to Qatari state media.
He added that the move was "not unexpected as it is in line with Qatar's commitment as the host country of the 2022 FIFA World Cup".
On Friday, the head of Qatar's football association confirmed he had agreed to transfer the hosting of the football tournament for Arab nations to Kuwait.
"This edition of the tournament is a celebration for all the peoples of the Arabian Gulf after lifting the international suspension on Kuwait," Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani said in a statement.
FIFA on Wednesday lifted a suspension imposed on Kuwait's football association in 2015 over alleged government interference.
Following the transfer, the Kuwait FA announced that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain would take part in the tournament despite a previous boycott.
The three Gulf states failed to confirm their participation in the Qatar-hosted Gulf Nations Cup, saying they would not take part unless Kuwait's FIFA ban was lifted.
The three countries cut ties with Qatar in June, including banning their citizens from visiting the neighbouring emirate, over accusations that Doha supports terrorism, something it categorically denies.
The UAE has repeatedly attacked the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar, saying that the country must "reject extremism and terrorism" to host the games.
Influential Dubai intelligence chief Dhahi Khalfan has also claimed the blockade on Qatar will end if it surrenders the World Cup.
In September, the UAE pulled its football team out of the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers after the Asian Football Confederation rejected its request to not play against Qatar.