Iraq has apologised to its neighbour Kuwait after a scuffle in the VIP section prevented the Kuwaiti emir’s representative from attending opening ceremonies at the Gulf Cup football tournament.
Matches are taking place in the city of Basra, near Kuwait, as war-scarred Iraq hosts the regional event for the first time in more than four decades.
The country was long banned from international football and is counting on the tournament to burnish its image.
Videos on social media showed about 20 men verbally abusing and jostling each other, for unknown reasons, in a VIP section of the city’s International Stadium. It was hosting the tournament’s opening match between Iraq and Oman on Friday night.
During the chaos, Kuwait Olympic Committee president Sheikh Fahad Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad could not get into the venue, Kuwaiti press reported. He was representing the country’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.
The president of the Kuwait Football Association and his delegation withdrew from the opening ceremony “in solidarity” with the emir’s representative, who could not attend for safety reasons, the reports said.
The Association “expressed its strong…