Representatives from the Gulf Arab states boycotting Qatar were absent during the draw for a Middle East soccer tournament in Doha and want to postpone the competition.
However, the requests of the UAE and Bahrain to postpone the event was rejected by the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation (AGCFF).
“The tournament is going ahead on time,” AGCFF General Secretary Jassim al-Rumaithi told reporters after the draw.
The other participating teams in the tournament are Iraq, Oman, Yemen and Qatar. Kuwait, who have featured in past competitions, can play only if a suspension by FIFA is lifted in time.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain had not confirmed their participation and the tournament needs a minimum of five teams under the current format.
Hamid al-Shaibani, chairman of the competitions committee, said teams that chose not to compete could face financial sanctions.
Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq and Yemen have been drawn in Group A, with Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE in Group B. Kuwait will join Group B if their FIFA suspension is lifted.
FIFA banned Kuwait’s national soccer federation for alleged government interference in the running of the body.
Meanwhile, Oman Football Association general secretary, Othaman al-Bulushi said that postponing the tournament would be damaging for the regional football.
“It will be a negative for the sport in the Gulf countries but we hope that the three countries, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, will be participating, inshallah (God willing),” he said.