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The Iraqi government has stated it is seeking to host the best Gulf Cup of Nations in the history of the tournament when it stages the 2015 event.

The Iraqi government has stated it is seeking to host the best Gulf Cup of Nations in the history of the tournament when it stages the 2015 event.

The ongoing 2013 edition of the Gulf Cup was scheduled to be held in Iraq only for it to be moved to Bahrain due to security concerns. Iraqi officials had criticised the decision as being politically motivated, but have now stated that new facilities in the southern city of Basra are almost complete for the first football tournament to be held in the country since the US-led invasion in 2003.

“Security and safety will be ensured,” said Deputy Sports Minister Essam al-Diwan, according to German news agency DPA. “We will work on organising the best Gulf Cup tournament ever to be held. We trust our brothers in the Gulf will back us, and we got support promises from the heads of sports federations.”

Iraq’s staging of the 2015 Gulf Cup will be centred around the huge Basra Sports City development, which Al-Diwan said will be inaugurated in March, along with six hotels to accommodate teams and visitors. Iraq hosted its only edition of the national team tournament in 1979, when it won on home soil.

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