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Bahrain replaces Iraq as 2013 Gulf Cup host | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Bahrain’s Olympic Committee says the Gulf kingdom has replaced Iraq as host of the 2013 Gulf Cup, angering the Iraqis.

General secretary Sheik Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalifa says the decision to swap venues was made by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, without disclosing a reason.

The 2013 Gulf Cup was originally awarded to Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, but Bahrain’s state-run media said Basra’s stadium and hotel construction were given a poor review by the GCC soccer committee.

Iraqi sports officials criticized the move as politically motivated.

As a majority Shiite country, Iraq has backed Shiite-led protests against Bahrain’s Sunni rulers this year.