Iraq ready to host the 22nd Gulf Cup

The head of the Iraqi Foot­ball Del­e­ga­tion in Bahrain re­vealed to re­porters that Iraq is com­pletely ready to host the 22nd Gulf Cup in 2015

The Kurdish Globe - - SPORT - Zakaria Muhammed

In a press con­fer­ence held in Bahrain on Jan­uary 9th, Is­sam Di­wan, head of the Iraqi foot­ball del­e­ga­tion in Bahrain, dis­cussed Iraq's bid to host the up­com­ing 22nd Gulf Cup in the south­ern city of Basra with an air of joy and op­ti­mism.

Iraq was sup­posed to host the 21st Gulf Cup, which is cur­rently been held in Bahrain, but due to se­cu­rity is­sues, the Sports Of­fi­cials and the Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee in the Gulf Coun­tries de­cided to move the event to Bahrain.

"The tech­ni­cal teams paid vis­its to Basra city sev­eral times and said pos­i­tive things about the sports city in Basra. But all of a sud­den they changed their mind and de­cided to move the Cup to Bahrain. I am not say­ing it was an un­fair de­ci­sion but I’d rather re­spect their de­ci­sion," ex­plained Di­wan.

He added "On be­half of the Government and the peo­ple of Iraq, I would like to thank the broth­erly peo­ple of Bahrain for the suc­cess­ful way they have hosted the com­pe­ti­tion. Now we re­gard, as part of the Or­ga­niz­ers of the con­tests that the success of the event is also ours,"

Di­wan also urged Arab coun­tries to sup­port Iraq in its fight to lift the sports ban im­posed on the coun­try.

Con­cern­ing the lat­est de­vel­op­ments of Basra Sports City, Di­wan said "in the near fu­ture we will open Basra Sports City's Nakhla Jazie Sta­dium that can hold 65,000 spec­ta­tors. The pitch is sup­pos­edly bet­ter than those hosted the Lon­don Olympic Games in terms of ar­chi­tec­ture and sports spec­i­fi­ca­tion."

Ac­cord­ing to Di­wan, in­side Basra Sports city there is an­other sta­dium that can hold 10,000 spec­ta­tors and will be com­pleted soon.

An­other sta­dium which is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion is Mina Sports Club Sta­dium that can hold 30,000 spec­ta­tors. The sta­dium is sur­rounded by four other small sta­di­ums which will be used solely for train­ing ses­sions and each one can hold 500 spec­ta­tors.

In ad­di­tion to the sta­di­ums, the com­plex will also have VIP lounges and restau­rants, spec­ta­tor fa­cil­i­ties, 205 VIP un­der­ground park­ing stalls and a tun­nel con­nect­ing the main sta­dium to the sec­ondary sta­dium.

The con­struc­tion of the com­plex was started on 15 July 2009 and is ex­pected to be com­pleted this year. The city is funded by the government of Iraq with an al­lo­cated bud­get of $550 mil­lion dol­lars, cov­er­ing the main sta­dium with a ca­pac­ity of 65,000 peo­ple, a sec­ondary sta­dium with a ca­pac­ity of 10,000, four Five Stars ho­tels and other sports re­lated fa­cil­i­ties.

Di­wan de­nied there is any se­cu­rity con­cern in Basra be­cause of the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Iraq, not­ing that no coun­try is com­pletely safe.

"I don't want to com­pare Basra with other cities in the world, but I do not see any se­cu­rity is­sues in Basra. There may be some demon­stra­tions and bomb­ings at times but we wit­ness th­ese things in many other places in other coun­tries as well. We see th­ese things like any coun­try in the world, take Amer­ica and Spain that are not free of ter­ror­ist at­tacks or bomb­ings," he noted.

Di­wan, who is also the Sports and Youth Deputy Min­is­ter, said "we would apol­o­gize if we are un­able to host the 22nd Gulf Cup and will let our brothers in the other coun­tries com­pete for the host­ing. We have al­lo­cated a huge bud­get for the event, all the works are sup­posed to be com­pleted in Basra by March. The Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee will pay a visit to the city af­ter the com­ple­tion of the Gulf Cup in Bahrain, and, God will­ing, the com­mit­tee will make a pos­i­tive de­ci­sion."

Adding his voice to the sup­port, Raad Ham­moudi, head of the Iraqi Olympic Com­mit­tee, said that Iraq is ready to host the 22nd Gulf Cup and is not afraid of com­pe­ti­tion with any coun­try to suc­ceed in or­ga­niz­ing the tour­na­ment.

"We never think about los­ing the event at all. We sought to host 21st Gulf Cup but we didn't host it. Any­way, we are now ready for the next in­stall­ment and to em­brace this im­por­tant event," said Ham­moudi.

Fi­nally, he re­quested sports of­fi­cials from the Gulf States to sup­port Iraq in or­der to en­sure that the next event will be held in Basra.

A view of Basra foot­ball sta­dium which un­der con­struc­tion.

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