To be sure, soccer associations in the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that groups the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman alongside the kingdom stand on solid ground in arguing that they moved the Gulf Cup scheduled for late next year or early 2015 in which Iraq and Yemen also compete from the southern Iraqi city of Basra to Jeddah for security reasons. Iraq has in recent months been rocked by a series of suicide attacks and bombings reminiscent of the sectarian violence several years ago. Similarly, Iraq has a history of political interference in the affairs of the Iraqi Football Association (IFA).
In addition to security concerns, the GCC based its decision on assertions that Iraq had failed to complete the necessary infrastructure for the Cup. In announcing its boycott of the Cup, which is widely popular in the Gulf and fiercely contested, Iraq said it had poured a huge sum of money into preparing for the tournament. It pointed out that Gulf states had agreed in 2007 to hold it in Basra, at a time when the security situation was worse than it is now.